Miroslav Klempár: I do not believe the European Commission's new 10-year plan to support Roma will apply to the Czech Republic!
The European Commission (EC) has adopted a 10-year plan, including a proposal for a new EU Council Recommendation, on how to support Romani people EU-wide. Its aims and recommendations are meant to serve as important instruments through which it will be possible to measure the progress made and to ensure the EU improves its provision of the essential support that many Romani people living in the EU still need.
The EC Vice-President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová has clearly declared that “Simply put, over the last 10 years we have not done enough to support the Roma population in the EU. This is inexcusable. Many continue to face discrimination and racism. We cannot accept it. Today we are relaunching our efforts to correct this situation, with clear targets and a renewed commitment to achieve real change over the next decade."
Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli said that "With the targets that we have laid out in the Strategic Framework today, we expect to make real progress by 2030 towards a Europe in which Roma are celebrated as part of our Union's diversity...”. We could be telling ourselves that things are heading in the right direction - that is, if we did not simultaneously know that Czech Regional Development Minister Klára Dostálová (ANO) has drafted a proposal to change the allocation of European Social Fund (ESF) resources for the 2021-2027 programming period so that money intended for education, employment policy or social services will be redirected to infrastructure projects.
If we take into consideration the fact that the Czech Republic is one of the EU countries that invests the least in education, and that a large number of the projects that are underway here in that sector are financed precisely by ESF money, then this is scandalous and unprofessional. As part of their campaigning, politicians here are making decisions at our children's expense, and doing so in a way that is devious and untransparent.
The Regional Development Ministry was not open to any discussion and made this decision in an authoritarian way, in contravention of democratic values. Its proposal went through an accelerated procedure, which means it was technically impossible for the material to be read by others and commented on.
All of this has transpired quietly, without the media paying attention. This kind of approach and financing may indeed deliver us the Danube-Oder-Elbe canal project, but it will also mean that in comparison with the rest of Europe our children will be less educated, the number of socially excluded localities here will double, and we will have no resources for the services needed by senior citizens and vulnerable people.
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