Central Bohemian Romani Affairs Coordinator Cyril Koky: Long-term unemployment is a problem
News server Deník.cz reports that political scientists and other experts have been discussing the causes of the recent escalation in tensions between members of the majority society and the Romani minority, as well as possible solutions, at the College of the Political and Social Sciences (Vysoká škola politických a společenských věd) in Kolín. The scientific seminar focused on examples from practice.
"The lecturers are mainly practitioners who are able to talk about everyday cases," said Monika Pohůnková, the seminar organizer. She also directs the Center for the Study of Human Rights and Radicalism (Centrum pro studium lidských práv a radikalismu) at the college.
When asked whether the escalation in societal tensions is justified, the director said there is no simple answer to that question. "There are certain problems here that must be addressed. On the other hand, such tensions are very often inflated artificially," Pohůnková told news server Deník.cz.
The lecturers did their best to propose concrete solutions to current problems in their presentations. Pohůnková said the town of Kolín is succeeding in addressing these difficulties. "I was taken with the good practice from Kolín, specifically that of the Prostor civic association, which works with people from socially excluded localities. Their contribution will definitely be interesting," she said.
Cyril Koky, Coordinator for Romani Affairs and Alien Integration with the Social Affairs Department at the Central Bohemian Regional Authority, opened the seminar. He said societal tensions are an attractive tool for regional-level politics. "The topic of such tensions can attract crowds to an electoral campaign. At the same time, however, a political party can fall out of favor with the citizenry due to such a problem," Koky told news server Deník.cz. He outlined the recent situation in the town of Varnsdorf as an example: "The mayor has been in office one year and people are holding it against him that he hasn't done anything yet, but you can't do much in just one year. The previous town councils also bear responsibility for the current situation."
Koky also claimed problems with the Romani minority could all be addressed at regional level. "One of the problems is long-term unemployment," he said, proposing the following solution: "Each municipality should support local businesspeople in creating more jobs." He also said the rising tensions must be addressed in various towns or the situation will continue to deteriorate.
"Mayors very often have to address larger problems, like sanitation or waste water treatment plants. Nevertheless, they should pay attention to the problem of social tensions," Koky told news server Deník.cz.
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