New volunteer civil society member of Czech Govt Roma Council says it does not communicate with the Romani public enough
Vladimír Čermák is a recent graduate in economics and a Romani community member who became one of the four new members of the Czech Government Council on Romani Minority Affairs appointed on 21 September 2020. He wants to focus on the competitiveness of Romani firms on the labour market, on employment, and would also like to be involved as an analyst monitoring the flow of EU financing and assessing the impacts of projects associated with the Romani minority, as well as the impacts of the Regional Coordinators and other persons contributing to the integration of Romani people who are financed with public money.
Q: What are you expecting from your volunteer membership as a civil society member of the Czech Government's Roma Council?
A: I joined the Council with the aim of actively contributing to its activities, of course. I am not naive and I do not anticipate that I will change the direction it is heading in during the next few months. It is necessary to understand that the Council is an advisory body, and without the collaboration and political will of the Office of the Government, no desired changes can happen. In any event, I perceive my membership on the Council, from my position as a young Romani man, to be a commitment to our nation, and I will actively contribute my experience and perspective, and above all, my diligence and work on a daily basis to build a better future for our children. I am aware that a lot of work awaits us, and that is why I joined the Council. I do not expect to talk too much, but to work.
Q: What area do you want to focus on?
A: My vision is especially to bring the Council closer to young Roma and to bring the thinking of the up-and-coming younger generation to the Council. I have just graduated in economics, which means it is natural that I would concentrate, above all, on the competitiveness of Romani firms on the labor market and on employment. I am involved with entrepreneurship and with management, and it is exactly those skills and my experience to date that I would like to draw on in the Council to design the steps necessary to improving the position of Roma on the labor market and their access to goods and services.
Q: What is your assessment of the activity of the Council to date, what should change there?
A: I have just observed the activity of the Council to date from the outside, so I'm unable to form an objective judgment. In my opinion, the Council doesn't communicate with the public as much as it should. Currently the Council is creating a strategic document for the next 10 years, but the broader Romani public, who will certainly be affected by that document, does not have information about it. For that reason, I would like to bring the activity of the Council, where I will personally be contributing, closer to Romani people so that these discussions will be about us, with us. I feel the biggest need for change is in the statutes of the Council itself. There is a need to place more emphasis on members' active approaches, which could be augmented by more power to assess and audit the steps that are taken by the entities involved in Romani emancipation and integration. I see the establishment of a Committee to Audit and Assess Fulfillment of the Roma Integration Strategy as making sense, as well as the establishment of a Committee to Ensure Equal Opportunities for Roma on the Labor Market. I would also personally gravitate toward an analytical approach to auditing the flow of financing from the EU and assessing the impacts of projects funded with public money, as well as the impacts of the Regional Coordinators and other persons contributing to Romani integration.
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