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Czech deputy PM says not true Romany issue not in his power

Prague, 21.9.2008 16:19, (ROMEA)

Czech deputy prime minister Jiri Cunek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said it is not true that the Romany issue is not within his power, in Questions of Vaclav Moravce on Czech Television (CT) today.

He said the Local Development Ministry which he heads deals with housing policy and housing of the socially excluded.

Cunek said the billions of crowns that are to be spent on the development of this type of housing will be wasted unless his ministry does something about the socially excluded community.

He said Romanies must move closer to "the normal way of life," they must not abuse benefits and they must send children to schools.

Cunek said he wants to submit to a complete version of his Romany concept to the government council for Romany affairs by June 2009.

He said the existing text that divides the inhabitants of socially excluded localities into three groups according to their dependence on the welfare policy of the state is but working.

"Our ministry is clearly responsible for that means are not wasted here like before," Cunek said.

The junior government Green Party (SZ) resents Cunek's activities in this respect.

They said in the past already that Cunek should more consult his ideas with specialised institutions and to leave the work on the concept to Minorities Minister Dzamila Stehlikova (SZ).

Social Democrat (CSSD) chairman Jiri Paroubek also criticised on CT the insufficient cooperation of Cunek's team with Romany organisations.

"It reminds of a dialogue of the deaf," Paroubek said when commenting on discords between Cunek and Ivan Vesely, deputy chairman of the government council for Romany issues.

Vesely has dismissed Cunek's concept as "clerofascist."

Cunek's concept has been prepared by Romany Losef Balaz. Cunek said other Romanies are also on the team. They have ample experience with work in socially excluded Romany communities, he added.

Cunek gives more powers to municipalities in his concept. He writes that authorities could say which groups should be helped and which not.

Those who try to do something about their situation should be helped, according to the concept.

Vesely has conceded that Cunek's concept may contain certain positive points that could be included in the material Stehlikova'is preparing.

Vesely said her draft should be submitted to the government in February or Mach 2009.

CTK
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