City of Prague establishes National Minority Committee with seat for Roma
More than 5 % of the residents of Prague are of a nationality other than Czech. The City Council has therefore fulfilled its legal obligations and established a National Minority Committee with representatives of 12 nationalities.
The resolution was adopted on 26 March by the city councilors. The Committee will have 17 members and will start working as of 1 April.
The date of the Committee's first meeting has not yet been established. Here are the current members of the City of Prague's National Minority Committee:
Ing. Vladislava Hujová - member of the Prague City Council
Ing. Alexandra Udženija - member of the Prague City Council
Jaroslav Štěpánek - member of the Prague City Council
Štefan Tišer - expert
Mgr. Ph.D. Natalia Kalajdžievová - representative of the Bulgarian national minority
PhDr. Petr Balla - representative of the Hungarian national minority
Irena Nováková - representative of the German national minority
Michal Chrzastowski - representative of the Polish national minority
Bc. Štěpán Kavur - representative of the Romani national minority
Ing. Alexandr Chochrunová - representative of the Ruthenian national minority
Ing. Igor Zolotarev, CSc. - representative of the Russian national minority
Michal Lašo - representative of the Greek national minority
PhDr. Magdaléna Rychlíková - representative of the Slovak national minority
Mgr. et Mgr. Ing. Borislav Rudić - representative of the Serbian national minority
Mgr. Olga Mandová - representative of the Ukrainian national minority
Mgr. František Bányai - representative of the Jewish community
According to the 2011 census, 5.46 % of the residents of Prague declared themselves members of the national minorities officially recognized and represented on the Czech Government Council on National Minorities. Prague's National Minority Committee will have representatives of the Bulgarians, Germans, Greeks, Hungarians, the Jewish community, Poles, Roma, Russians, Ruthenians, Serbs, Slovaks and Ukrainians.
According to the explanatory memorandum on the resolution, the City Council has not yet managed to arrange for nominations of candidates from the Belarussian, Croatian and Vietnamese minorities. Should candidates from these minorities display an interest, they, too, can be appointed to the Committee.
"I believe it's a problem that there will not be a representative of the Vietnamese minority on the Committee. That all but rules out the possibility that we might be able to reach a future agreement with them about representation," said Prague City Councilor Václav Novotný (TOP 09).
In his view it would be better to withdraw the resolution and reapprove it once representatives of all minorities are found for the Committee. According to City Councilor Petr Štěpánek (Green Party/Trojkoalice), however, there is no reason the Committee cannot begin to operate with its current composition.
The Committee will be led by Prague City Councilor Lukáš Kaucký (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD). "In the case of the Romani national minority, as for all the other minorities, we used a narrow selection model through direct voting on the nominated candidates so that the choice of nominees would be transparent. Four candidates were originally nominated by Romani organizations in Prague. Prior to the vote, Mr Jan Balog withdrew his nomination. On the basis of the vote, Bc. Štěpán Kavur was chosen (Vote results: Four organizations voted for Kavur, three for Michal Miko and four abstained)", reads the explanatory memorandum.
Kavur was elected to represent the Romani minority on the Committee and Štefan Tišer, the Romani vice-chair of the Equal Opportunities Party, is also on the Committee as an expert. Approximately half of all the foreigners in the Czech Republic live in Prague and its surrounding environs and their proportion as a share of the population is highest there.
The reason so many foreigners live in that area is that there are enough housing and job opportunities. The largest population of foreign nationals in the Czech Republic as a whole and in Prague is that of the Ukrainians.
The Slovak and Vietnamese minorities are the second and third most numerous in the capital and in the country as a whole. Currently almost 168 000 foreign nationals are living in Prague itself either long-term or permanently.
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