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Andrea Bučková's time as Slovak Govt Plenipotentiary for Roma is over, new Plenipotentiary is Ján Hero

17.12.2021 5:54
Andrea Bučková (left) and Ján Hero (right). (COLLAGE:  Romea.cz)
Andrea Bučková (left) and Ján Hero (right). (COLLAGE: Romea.cz)

Last week the Government of Slovakia removed its Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities, Andrea Bučková, with immediate effect and replaced her with Ján Hero. According to Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger, the personnel change was not an expression of lack of trust in Bučková, but an effort to take advantage of the abilities and experience of the very best possible candidate for the post.   

The PM also indicated that a reason for the change was the negotiations on the form of the Partnership Agreement establishing conditions for providing EU funds and the areas in which resources are meant to be provided. "The fact that somebody better is coming in does not mean the other person was bad. However, in the area of integration and improving conditions for the Romani community and drawing on EU funds for those purposes, i.e., in the area that has bothered all previous administrations in Slovakia, we need the best of the best," Heger emphasized. 

Bučková took office in April 2020, replacing Ábel Ravasz. "I accepted the post of Plenipotentiary with the commitment to do all I could to actually change living conditions, especially for those people living in excluded environments of Romani communities, and the conditions of other Romani men and women who face different forms of inequality and discrimination because of their ethnicity," Bučková posted after her dismissal, listing the most important milestones in her work as Plenipotentiary, from responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to preparing the country's new Romani integration strategy. 

"I am convinced that I have created conditions for continual progress on the agenda this office oversees. I would like to thank all of the women and men employed by the office, and the cooperating organizations and institutions to whom this subject matters. I wish the new Plenipotentiary a lot of strength and success," Bučková posted.  

Hero took office on 9 December. He is a longstanding expert in the area of nationality-related schooling and has experience in the subject of the education and upbringing of Romani children and youth.

As Plenipotentiary, according to a press release, his main aim will be to improve relationships with the ministries, to strengthen the office regionally, and to continue the negotiations about the Partnership Agreement, part of which will determine the conditions for providing the financial resources from the European Union and, among other matters, the priority areas for which those resources are to be provided. "I assumed the post of Plenipotentiary during a demanding period of negotiations on the Partnership Agreement. I believe that during these joint meetings that are currently continuing on the Partnership Agreement we will manage to achieve a result that will lead to improving the lives of those living in Romani communities," Hero said in the press release on his appointment, adding that he also wants to concentrate on finalizing the action plans of activities and measures, including the designation of the responsible partners and the actual calculations of the financial requests to be made.

The Government of the Slovak Republic's Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities is an advisory body to the Government on the issue of Romani communities in Slovakia and implements systemic measures to improve their position and integration into society. The Office of the Plenipotentiary of the Government of the Slovak Republic for Romani Communities has 102 employees.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Andrea Bučková, Slovakia, Vláda, Zmocněnec



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