Ministers' dispute over Romanies will not break govt - Czech PM
Czech PM Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS) said today he is not afraid that the dispute between deputy PM Jiri Cunek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) and Minister Dzamila Stehlikova (Greens) over the treatment of Romanies could break up his coalition government.
Stehlikova has criticised Cunek for having moved Romany rent-defaulters from Vsetin, north Moravia, when he was mayor of the town, to dilapidated houses in the Jeseniky and Prerov areas last year.
She wants the Local Development Minister, which Cunek now heads, to provide a subsidy for repairs of the houses.
Cunek reacted to Stehlikova's demand saying that she does not comprehend the problem.
At the recent Greens' congress, Stehlikova compared the removal of Romanies from Vsetin to the transfer of Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War Two.
On Monday, she said that she had in mind the method applied, adding that the two things cannot be compared in terms of extent.
Topolanek called Stehlikova's statement "excited."
"Dzamila Stehlikova does her work, she is in charge of the Romany issue. Nevertheless, Jiri Cunek has not done of what he is suspected," Topolanek told journalists during his visit to Warsaw.
Stehlikova said on Monday that the government Council for Romany Affairs recommended her on Monday to secure a subsidy of 1.5 million crowns for the repairs of the dilapidated houses to which Romany families were moved.
The houses do not have running water and a septic tank. The Romanies are to repay the houses over a period of 20 years.
Cunek said that Vsetin could move the rent-defaulters to the street, but instead, it secured replacement housing for them.
"Our generosity, however, has its limits, and I don't think that we would lead these people to responsibility and motivation if we financed the repairs of their family houses and if we or the state kept helping them," Cunek said in reaction to Stehlikova.
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