Romani organizations write to Czech Industry and Trade Minister: Roma must be part of the National Plan for Renewal
Representatives of Romani civil society have sent an open letter to Czech Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček; news server Romea.cz is publishing it in full translation below. The letter asks the minister to provide information about its National Plan for Renewal and how the Romani representatives can most effectively join its preparations.
The letter-writers are concerned by the fact that the Government never called on representatives of Romani civil society or the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs to collaborate on drafting the National Plan for Renewal. It is meant to become the most extensive stimulus package of financial support in history to ever be implemented in the Czech Republic as aid in coping with the novel coronavirus crisis.
Among the areas to be financially supported are education and the labor market; research, development and innovation; digital transformation; and the health and immunity of the population. Representatives of Romani civil society are asking that the issue of including Romani people be taken into account by the National Plan of Renewal, because according to data from the local level, it is being demonstrated that the novel coronavirus pandemic has strongly impacted the lives of many Romani people and intensified their social exclusion.
OPEN LETTER FROM ROMANI CIVIL SOCIETY TO THE CZECH INDUSTRY AND TRADE MINISTER
we are contacting you as member organizations of the European Roma Grassroots Organization network, which is the biggest umbrella platform for organizations involved with including Romani people into society, about the Recovery Plan for Europe, more specifically, about the National Plan for Renewal that was to have been submitted by the Czech Republic to the European Commission by the close of February and which now is meant to be submitted by the end of March 2021.
We would like to remind you that is in the chief interest of the National Plan for Renewal, or rather of the instruments in the Next Generation EU program (NGEU) for the support of recovery and resilience (the Recovery and Resilience Facility – hereinafter the RRF), to take advantage of those instruments to achieve the aim of including groups that are currently marginalized - Romani people, for example - into society. From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, both in the Czech Republic and all over Europe, members of such communities have been directly, heroically braving the pandemic, have been supporting society, and are currently continuing to support society so we can manage to cope together with the impacts of the pandemic not just on public health, but also on the economy and society.
We, advocates of Romani civil society, are members of a national umbrella platform of pro-Romani and Romani organizations called RomanoNet, z.s., and through this communication we are calling on the Government to assess its investment priorities from the perspective of mainstreaming such inclusion into society, and we are emphatically asking that you adopt budgeting for this investment that will arrange for these public monies to target achieving the aims of including us in society. Furthermore, we will be carefully following your next moves to arrange for the representation of the inclusion perspective in all of the areas of financing within the NGEU framework and the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027, including the funds for addressing the climate and digitalization. We Romani people are voters, we participate in all areas of life, and as interested, responsible actors in civil society we strive for transparency in all phases of the NGEU.
Given that we, as representatives of Romani civil society, and also as members of advisory bodies to the Czech Government such as the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs, have not yet been informed as to how to participate in and contribute to drafting the National Plan for Renewal itself, we would appreciate details about its development in future with respect to how the draft is being discussed. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that in the instructions elaborated by the European Commission on how to draft the National Plan of Renewal, it is expressly stated that you must outline "in what way consultation and involvement with civil society organizations has been undertaken with respect to drafting the reforms contained in the plan." You are also "called upon to describe any and all consultations and contributions by social partners, civil society and other relevant participating parties in the design and implementation of the plan for renewal and resilience." Likewise, you are obligated to create a public record of the end recipients of these investments and projects, broken down according to the aims established by the European Commission.
At this current time, when we are able to take advantage of this opportunity to secure the subject of the inclusion of Romani people into society at the center of this interest in creating a more sustainable world, we cannot allow inclusion as a principle and as the basis of developing marginalized persons to be overlooked. For that reason, we look forward to receiving your answers to the following questions:
What is the state of preparations of the National Plan for Renewal, and how will the discussions with and involvement of Romani civil society in those preparations take place?
How is inclusion into society, as an issue, integrated into the aims of the National Plan for Renewal at domestic and EU level?
What are the aims, measures, tasks and indicators of the National Plan for Renewal and how do they handle the measures planned, if any, in the area of the inclusion of marginalized groups and Romani people into society?
Will all components of the National Plan for Renewal be subjected to assessment in association with their impacts on the inclusion of marginalized groups and Romani people into society?
What institutional mechanisms, in the form of monitoring bodies, are accompanying or will accompany the entire cycle of the National Plan for Renewal and all future programs within the framework of the NGEU and MFF, from drafting to implementation and evaluation, and which concrete mechanisms will ensure that the inclusion of marginalized groups and Romani people will be incorporated into the plan as a whole during the entire time it is in effect?
How will the Romani Inclusion Strategy 2021+ be reflected throughout this process?
We believe it is essential that you pay maximum attention to these subjects.
Michal Miko, director, RomanoNet, z.s.
Gabriela Hrabaňová, director, European Roma Grassroots Organization network
Member organizations of RomanoNet:
Romodrom, o. p. s., Slovo 21, z. s., Romano Jasnica, z. s., Awen amenca, z. s., IQ Roma servis, z. s., Kleja, z. s., Otevřena společnost, o. p. s., ROMEA, o. p. s., Společně – jekhetane, o. p. s., Vzájmené soužití, o. p. s.
Civil society members of the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs:
Mgr. Jan Husák, Gwendolyn Albert, Alena Gronzíková, Čeněk Růžička
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