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HN: One third of Czech register offices may be closed

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Prague, May 14 (CTK) – The Interior Ministry plans to close more than 400 registers of births and deaths, mostly in small municipalities, this year, which means that about one third of the register offices would stop operating in the Czech Republic, daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) wrote on Monday.

The state would save about 150 million crowns by closing the offices.

“It is a political decision. We either try to make the state effective or we say we will preserve offices for sentimental reasons, although each of their acts costs 50,000 crowns,” Deputy Interior Minister Petr Mlsna told the paper.

Mlsna said it turned out that 400 to 450 register offices perform fewer than 20 operations a year. The offices issue birth certificates, death certificates and register marriages.

The register office at which the clerk has very little to do would close if another office is up to 20 kilometres from it.

The decision on the register offices will be made by Interior Minister Lubomir Metnar (for ANO) or his successor, possibly Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD).

Mayors of small municipalities protest against the planned step. They say this would make life difficult for older people and poor people, and they do not want to lose clerks.

South Bohemian MP Jan Bartosek (opposition Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) does not like the plan either. “If we want people to stay living at villages, this plan goes contrary to it. Services get away from people, they lose schools and restaurants. This is yet another step by which we say we do not care about small municipalities,” Bartosek said.

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