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March 17, 2018
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Czech President Zeman is in favor of leaving pig farm on site of former concentration camp for Roma

30.6.2017 12:57
Czech President Miloš Zeman, 2017. (PHOTO: TV Barrandov)
Czech President Miloš Zeman, 2017. (PHOTO: TV Barrandov)

Czech President Miloš Zeman is in favor of leaving the pig farm at the site of the former concentration camp for Romani people at Lety u Písku in place. Without providing any details, he has alleged that removing the farm will cost Czech taxpayers a billion crowns [EUR 38 million].

The President made his remarks during a program for the Barrandov cable television channel. "I dealt with this matter as Prime Minister and refused to close the pig farm," he recalled, adding that closure of the farm at that time would have cost the taxpayers about CZK 400 million [EUR 15.2 million] and that today, allegedly, it would cost one billion crowns.

"I am in favor of there being a dignified memorial at the site of that Romani labor camp, or possibly concentration camp, and that has already come to pass. As far as I know, one is already there. I'm not quite certain whether my Government installed it or not," he said, adding that he is against closing a prosperous business.

The General Director of the Barrandov cable channel, Jaromír Soukup, asked Zeman why that was his view, and he responded that, "It would be a loss to the national economy. What will that territory then be used for? An empty space, Mr Soukup, nothing more. Do you want to build empty spaces?"

"Let's allow the agricultural, food production, industrial and other businesses to function, let's not put any unnecessary barriers in their way," Zeman said. The current Government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) has a different opinion of the matter and wants to close the farm.

"As a cabinet we have resolved to undertake this task and we have told the Culture Minister and the Human Rights Minister to prepare to buy the pig farm, but it still has not happened, they have not yet brought the Government a material closing the matter and giving us a concrete proposal for the purchase price. The Prime Minister has the power and should use it to make sure the ministers fulfill that task," Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikán told the Czech News Agency several days ago.

Members of the cabinet, according to the Justice Minister, are discussing a price and doing their best for that price to be fair, but not more than fair. He did not want to reveal the price as he said that would put the state in a worse negotiating position.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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