Social Democrats to meet with church representatives on restitution law

Social Democrat officials are to meet with church representatives on Thursday to debate the possibility of revising the law on church restitutions. The meeting will be attended by representatives of the Czech Bishops Conference, the Ecumenical Council of Churches and the Federation of Jewish Communities. The Social Democrats consider the scope of the restitution law excessive and are pushing for a revision which would alleviate the burden on the state budget. Under the law the country’s churches will receive 75 billion crowns worth of land and property confiscated by the communist regime and get 59 billion crowns worth of compensation money for the rest, to be paid by the state over a period of 30 years. In addition to righting the wrongs of the past, the agreement will enable churches active in the Czech Republic to gain full independence from the state by 2030.