Romani community members debate the Czech Govt Strategy on Roma for 2021-2030
During the last six months intensive work has been underway to draft the Czech Government Strategy on Romani Integration for 2021-2030, which has been drafted by the staff of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs in collaboration with nonprofit organizations. What did its drafting involve?
That process was the topic of a discussion held recently between the director of the RomanoNet organization Michal Miko, the director of the Romodrom organization Nikola Taragoš, and two volunteer civil society members of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs, Jan Husák and Čeněk Růžička, filmed and then broadcast on Romea.cz. Růžička and Taragoš agreed during the debate that the drafting was a unique example of a collaboration among bureaucrats, nonprofit organizations and Romani community members.
"Personally I believe the Roma did most of the work and were the ones to take the main steps toward achieving the goal here," Růžička said during the debate. Husák emphasized that it is necessary to follow whether the EU financing administered by the Czech state has a direct impact on Romani people.
"We want the operational programmes to produce data about how much money, for what purposes, and with what impact, has been spent on Romani people," said Husák, who recently resigned as the volunteer civil society vice-chair of the Council. The first draft of the Strategy was prepared by the Office of the Czech Government's Department of the Office of the Romani Minority Affairs Council and Secretariat for the Czech Government Council on National Minorities.
Public consultation on the Strategy was opened at the close of April 2020. The consultation was meant to take the form of an online questionnaire.
That approach was criticized by several members of the Council on Romani Minority Affairs and also by nonprofit organizations. According to the critics, Romani people had been insufficiently involved in drafting the Strategy's text, which had been submitted to them as a fait accompli.
Led by the RomanoNet organization, which brings together several significant pro-Roma and Romani organizations, the nonprofits called for the Strategy to be reworked and expressed an interest in contributing to that work. The first common meeting of RomanoNet's working groups on the Strategy happened on 24 June 2020 at the Impact Hub in Prague, where proposals for new aims and measures were made as well as suggestions for revision of the Strategy.
After that, a series of common video conferences were held until the close of November during which the specific content of the logistical frameworks accompanying the Strategy and the specific tasks for each ministry were formulated. The final form of the analytical portion of the Strategy was also completed.
The material was submitted to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who chairs the Czech Government Council on Romani Minority Affairs, on 10 December 2020, and was then sent to the interministerial commenting procedure on 17 December. Ministries and other entities entitled to comment will do so during January 2021, after which the Government should approve the Strategy.
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