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First accepted refugees to come to ČR in September

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Prague, July 17 (CTK) – First refugees to whom the Czech Republic wants to grant asylum are to arrive in the country in September and 400 of them would be accepted by the end of the year, state secretary for European affairs Tomas Prouza said after a meeting dealing with their arrivals Friday.
A working group focusing on the issue, consisting of representatives of the interior, labour and regional development ministers, regional and municipal authorities, trade unions and churches, met for the first time Friday.
Deputy Interior Minister Jiri Novacek said municipalities would get instructions for their work with the refugee families and finances to cover the services involved.
This would be part of a new state integration policy, he said.
Prouza said 100 million crowns have been recently added to the state integration programme.
Earlier this month, the Czech government approved the plan to accept 1500 refugees by 2017. Out of them, 400 are to be accepted this year, 700 in 2016 and 400 in 2017.
About 1100 of them would be refugees from Italy and Greece and 400 would come directly from refugee camps in Jordan, Kurdistan and Syria.
Prouza said the fears of the arrival of refugees that people have are “absolutely unrealistic” and “irrational.”
He said the refugees should be integrated into society as soon as possible, but the moving into new homes will take at least three months and usually probably six months from their arrival in the country.
Novacek said the plan of accepting refugees has five points: the selection criteria, transport to the Czech Republic, assistance in integration into society, use of money earmarked for the integration, and awareness campaigns.
Churches will help with the selection of refugees from the camps in the Middle East. The selected families would undergo security vetting while still living in the camp. After their arrival in the Czech Republic, they would stay in refugee facilities until their asylum application is proceeded. When they are granted asylum, they would move to selected municipalities. Adults would be offered jobs, too.
Prouza said the first refugee families would start living in their new homes before Christmas.
The Interior Ministry recently received an extra 250 million crowns for fighting illegal migration and work with the refugees.
Czech Association of Towns and Villages executive head Dan Jiranek said town halls may use the money for the integration of the refugees for reconstruction of flats and inclusion of the immigrant children to schools.
The accepting of refugees should not negatively affect the financial situation of municipalities, he said.
“We believe that the state is obliged to ensure this – and that it is getting ready to make the integration smooth,” Jiranek said.
Czech Bishops’ Conference general secretary Tomas Holub said Christians should be accepted first and might be followed by the Kurdish Yazidis.
“We must take gradual steps because Czech society still has to learn to be open,” Holub said.
The church plans to call on the parishes ready to take care of asylum seekers to let it know so that a list of available locations can be created.
($1=24.946 crowns)

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