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World Bank analysis to map out Czech Romany unemployment

Prague, 28.7.2007 18:54, (CTK)

A study analysing the unemployment of Romanies in the Czech Republic is to be jointly completed by Czech and World Bank experts next spring with the aim to show ways Czech Romanies could find jobs and keep them in the long run, Minister Dzamila Stehlikova (Greens, SZ) has told CTK.

Stehlikova, minister in charge of human rights and ethnic minorities, held first talks on this point with World Bank representatives last week.

"The bank has offered us help with the identification of problems on the labour market where there is a high number of unemployed among the Romany community," Stehlikova said.

The planned analysis is to compare the situation in the Czech Republic with other European countries where Romany minorities live.

It is to propose not only general recommendations and strategic steps but also concrete guidelines for solving problems on the local level. It is mainly to focus on long-term unemployment, Stehlikova said.

The analysis will be one of the background documents for the work of the planned national agency against social exclusion that could start operating as of January 2008.
Unemployment, along with housing and education, are the crucial issues the agency is to deal with.

The agency, whose status and powers are now discussed by experts, is not to be an independent office but part of the Government Council for Romany Affairs.

It is to help the state bodies, municipalities and NGOs to solve Romany problems effectively within a nationwide plan. It will employ some 70 people, including 60 in individual regions.

The Council for Romany Affairs is to discuss the project and pass it to ministries for comments in September. The government might debate it in October, Stehlikova said.

Some municipalities are opposed to the planned agency. They say that already now there is a lot of projects and organisations dealing with the Romany issue. The situation could be better solved by amending the social welfare legislation so that it more strongly motivates socially excluded people to seek jobs, the opponents of the agency say.

Deputy PM and Local Development Minister Jiri Cunek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), too, says he would prefer working out a new plan for solving the Romany issue, rather than the new agency.

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