published: 20.02.2013, 12:27 | updated: 20.02.2013 12:31:49
Prague - The Czech government agreed today with the form of contracts between the state and churches and religious communities on financial settlement based on the law on return of property to churches, knowledgeable sources told CTK.
The contracts to be signed between state and each one of the 17 churches concerned are to be signed on Friday.
Under the law, which the Chamber of Deputies passed last November, churches are to be returned land and real estate, confiscated from them by the communist regime, worth 75 billion and given 59 billion crowns in financial compensation for unreturned property during the following 30 years. The largest sum, 47 billion crowns, would go to the Roman Catholic Church.
The contract contains a provision under which the state can agree with the church on that the annual instalment of the financial compensation or its part will be settled via the transfer of state bonds.
Every instalment is paid out per calendar year always by December 31 at the latest.
An earlier date can be set for settlement through the transfer of state bonds.
The contract with each church contains the particular sum that the state will pay to it and the state´s commitment to pay the church a financial contribution to its activities.
It now amounts to some 1.5 billion crowns annually, but it will be gradually lowered until it is completely terminated after 17 years.
One of the churches covered by the law, the Czech Baptist Union, said earlier this month it will not sign any contract with the state for the time being. It will make the final decision around April 20.
The opposition Public Affairs (VV) demands that Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) do not sign any contracts with churches until the Constitutional Court rules on complaints by the VV, a group of senators and the senior opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) about the law.
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