Saturday, 18 November 2017

Gov't, AGPI firm submit proposals for sale of Lety pig farm

ČTK |
17 July 2017

Prague, July 14 (CTK) - The Czech government and the AGPI firm representatives have handed over to one another their offers for the sale of the firm's pig farm in Lety, south Bohemia, situated at the site of a former Nazi internment camp for the Roma, the human rights minister's spokesman Michal Kacirek told CTK today.

They met on Thursday afternoon.

The preparations of the planned purchase of the farm are in a confidential regime, which means that the whole process is partially classified, Kacirek said.

No particular purchasing price of the farm has been set as yet. Both sides were rather discussing the models of its setting so far, he added.

The government of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) was represented by deputies to the culture and human right ministers during the talks.

Both sides' representatives say they are negotiating about how to reach the final price of the facility.

Roma organisations have been striving for the pig farm's relocation for years. The European Parliament (EP) as well as other international organisations have called on the Czech Republic repeatedly to remove the farm from the commemorative site.

European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM) head Benjamin Abtan said a pig farm at the site of the Roma Holocaust was an international scandal that had lasted too long. The organisation has for years demanded that the farm be demolished.

Those in power who make decisions should find a quick solution, the owner must accept a normal price and the government must offer a relevant sum, Abtan told CTK.

If the talks were not successfully completed soon, the government should launch expropriating the farm quickly to solve the problem by the October general election, he added.

Several Czech governments have dealt with the problem.

The government of Jiri Paroubek (CSSD, 2005-2006) was negotiating about purchasing the farm. The following cabinet of Mirek Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS, 2006-2009) planned it as well, but the plan was scrapped due to the financial crisis.

The purchasing price of the pig farm has never been released.

The current government has been negotiating with the pig farm's owner since January 2015.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) said previously his government would like to complete the negotiations.

AGPI originally preferred exchanging the Lety facility for another pig farm, but now it is no longer opposed to its sale.

According to estimates, the purchasing price might amount to hundreds of millions of crowns.

Minister Vladimir Mlynar said in an interview with a paper in June 1998 that the value of the farm assessed by court was 50 million crowns, while the market price was estimated at 140 million, according to owners. However, they demanded 300 million, Mlynar said.

President Milos Zeman said two weeks ago that as prime minister (1998-2002) he refused to shut down the farm since it would cost some 400 million crowns from the tax-payers' pockets.

The labour camp in Lety was opened in 1940. A similar facility existed in Hodonin u Kunstatu, south Moravia. In 1942, both facilities turned into internment camps and in August of the same year, Romany camps were established there.

Until May 1943, 1308 Roma men, women and children were interned there, 327 of whom perished in the camp and over 500 were sent to the extermination camp in Auschwitz where most of them died. According to estimates, the Nazis murdered 90 percent of Czech Roma people.

($1=22.878 crowns)

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