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Senate: Cabinet should improve contact with Czechs living abroad

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Prague, Dec 1 (CTK) – The Senate has asked the Czech government to better coordinate contact of the authorities with Czechs living abroad, the chairman of the Senate Commission For Foreign Czechs, Tomas Grulich (Civic Democratic Party, ODS), told journalists on Thursday.

The government should also give more money and staff to the office of the special commissioner for foreign Czechs affairs at the Foreign Ministry, the Senate decided.

The upper house of the Czech parliament also recommended to the government that it establish a government council for the diaspora with representatives of Czech communities abroad.

Grulich argued that the affairs of foreign Czechs in the sphere of finances, social security and administration fell within the agenda of ten ministries.

These include the acknowledgement and issuing of documents, social and health security and teaching of Czechs to foreign Czechs’ children.

Grulich said the structure of foreign Czechs had changed. Along with those who emigrated abroad before the 1989 fall of the Communist regime, some 600,000 Czechs now live abroad. Many of them only left after 1989.
According to a survey conducted by the association Czech Schools Without Borders, 92 percent of the respondents feel to be Czechs.

Two-thirds say they watch the events in the Czech Republic and a similar number may return to the Czech Republic.

“Not only the Senate, but also the government should declare their interest in the diaspora. We should try to take into account their needs in the legislation so that their return to the Czech Republic were not so strongly complicated by the red-tape as now,” Grulich said.

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