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Czech PM: "The state will not help delinquents and slackers who abuse welfare"

Ústí nad Labem, 3.12.2011 15:44, (ROMEA)
Petr Nečas (PHOTO: Lukáš Houdek)

The Civic Democratic Party (ODS) has announced that it intends to address the problems in socially excluded localities through a balanced combination of law enforcement and preventive measures. Party chair and Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas made the announcement at the party's program conference today in Ústí nad Labem, where the Civic Democrats are formulating their recipe for improving situations such as those in Šluknov district, where tensions this fall resulted in regular anti-Romani demonstrations that were exploited by right-wing extremists.

"ODS is aware of the significance of this society-wide problem, which threatens to grow into a larger societal conflict that we do not want," Nečas said. In his view, while the Šluknov district has become a symbol in the media, it is not the only locality with such problems, and what happened there must be taken as a serious warning.

As a solution, ODS is proposing a motivational, targeted social welfare system that supports only what is necessary. "The state will not help delinquents and slackers who abuse welfare," Nečas said, adding that the country's too-generous social welfare system, established during the governments of the opposition Czech Social Democrats (ČSSD), is one reason this problem has arisen.

Another element in improving the situation will be the thorough provision of security in socially excluded localities. The Czech PM said children's gangs and petty crime are a hot issue.

Nečas reiterated that the ODS is drafting legislative amendments to make the sentencing of repeated petty offenses harsher, including the creation of a misdemeanor registry. ODS also wants to change the rules for witness protection and the sentencing options for loan-sharking. Welfare disbursement will be linked to the increased performance of community service in order to motivate people to seek work. The party also wants to change the rules for housing benefits, which are disproportionately high in some localities. Across-the-board standards for the provision of social housing should also be created. The PM also said there is a fundamental need to educate children in socially excluded localities and integrate them more into society.

ODS members will vote on these measures by this evening. In September, the party held a similar conference in Brno on the budgetary designation of tax revenues and municipal policies.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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