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ČR to get financial aid from EU for social inclusion, says minister

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Prague, Sept 24 (CTK) – The EU may send around ten billion crowns to social exclusion in the Czech Republic in the years to come, Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (Social Democrats, CSSD) told journalists Thursday.

The money may be divided among 70 towns and villages within projects that are to be coordinated by the government social inclusion agency, Dienstbier said.

After the summer protests and departure of two-fifths of its staff, the situation in the agency has stabilised, he added.

The spring protests started after Dienstbier dismissed Martin Simacek, former head of the agency.

The money from three operational programmes (employment, science and research, integrated regional) should be used for the housing, education, security and employment for those in need, Dienstbier said.

“As some of the projects are to last longer, the support during the seven-year period may be up to ten billion,” he added.

“This is a gross estimate because the money in individual programmes can be shifted,” Dienstbier said.

The number of excluded localities has been rising in the Czech Republic. In the past nine years, it doubled from 300 to 600. They are located in 297 towns and villages and inhabited by up to 115,000 people, while the figure stood at 80,000 in 2006, he added.

Dienstbier said the towns and villages that might be eligible for the projects were being selected gradually.

At present, the agency works with 36 places, 28 of which are prepared for a coordinated approach.

The town halls have prepared or are preparing strategic plans and projects.

“The mediation of European subsidies to the town halls that want to put an end to poverty and other problems is the most visible part of the coordinated approach,” Dienstbier said.

Previously, the resources ignored the plan and the right timing, the director of the agency, Radek Jiranek, said.

Thanks to the coordinated approach, the activities will be combined and the steps will not follow one another illogically, Jiranek said.

The European projects that are to ensure the agency’s functioning for another five years are also finished, Dienstbier said.

It is to gain 400 million crowns and it will use them for consultants in the individual localities, he added.

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