Party leaders condemn labor minister's Roma stereotype-ridden Instagram post

Junior government leaders distance themselves from Labor Minister Marian Jurečka's Instagram post meant to promote a simplified welfare system. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 02.08.2023 16:26:00 (updated on 02.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The leaders of the junior government coalition, the Pirates and Mayors and Independents (STAN), have distanced themselves from an Instagram post from Labor and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jurečka. The post from late July featured a photo of a Roma man with the caption "end of benefits abuse."

Pirate leader Ivan Bartoš called on Jurečka, who is also the chairman of the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL), to uphold his promise of not dividing society and refrain from pitting people against each other. STAN chairman Vít Rakušan, who also serves as the interior minister, referred to the post as a failure.

Speaking to news agency ČTK, Jurečka clarified that the intention behind the post was to highlight a specific, well-known case in the media, illustrating how the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry planned to simplify the welfare system. However, he admitted that the post might have been misconstrued to apply to those who do not abuse the system.

The controversial photo depicted a dark-skinned man holding a can of beer during a commemoration event for a young Roma man who passed away following a skirmish at a lake in Brno. In a video from the same event, the man emotionally expressed frustration over the lengthy waiting period for welfare benefits.

Ministers condemn divisive politics

Interior Minister Rakušan criticized Jurečka's post, stating that while a simpler system for social support is beneficial, the approach taken in promoting it was inappropriate.

Bartoš wrote on social media site X that resorting to divisive politics, fear-mongering, and populism might lead to short-term gains but could ultimately harm the entire country. He reiterated the Pirates' commitment to pursuing a different, more inclusive political approach.

Jurečka also faced criticism over the post from former KDU-ČSL chairman Miroslav Kalousek, who, during his tenure as finance minister, also attempted to tackle benefit abuse. Kalousek denounced the use of ethnic issues in such a manner, considering it unfair and reprehensible.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is currently working on revamping the social support system by consolidating the current four welfare benefits into a single payment. The proposed change aims to streamline benefit administration and reinforce monitoring mechanisms.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more