MINELRES: Bulgaria: Roma and HR NGOs Claim the Government has Deluded the Public about the Money Designed for Roma Inclusion

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed Feb 9 21:45:02 2005

Original sender: Emil Cohen <emil.cohen@gmail.com>



Roma and Human Rights NGOs Claim the Government has Deluded the Public
about the Money Designed for Roma Inclusion

Sofia, February 03, 05 
Bulgarian government spends the EU-funds for Roma integration in an
extremely inefficient manner. Furthermore, it deludes both the national
and international public with assertions and promises for huge financial
resources designed for implementation of the Framework Program for Roma
Integration. There are many reasons to
state that these mistakes are not accidental but constitute sustainable
practice provoked by flaps and failures in the way Roma integration
process is conducted by Bulgarian institutions. That is why an
independent Roma monitoring on the implementation of the Framework
Program for Roma Integration and the PHARE projects directed to Roma
integration is necessary.

These were the main statements of the press conference organized by
Center "Amalipe", Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and European Roma
Information Office in Sofia on February 01, 2005 in the eve of the
official start of the Decade of the Roma inclusion.

To explain their statements, the organizers announced that:
- During the implementation of PHARE BG 0104.01 'Roma Population
Integration' commodities designed for the education of Roma children
had been "sold" from three to ten times higher than their real price.
For instance, the actual cost of a set of six color pastels is 1,10
BGN, but they have been delivered to the final users at a price of
11,70 BGN. In other words the state has paid a price ten times higher
than the actual price!
- Further, a preliminary analysis of the Governmental Action Plan for
implementation of the Framework Program for Roma integration (Decision
693/6.10. 2003) shows that the Government deluded the public opinion
stating that 271 millions BGN would be spent for Roma integration
during the period October 2003 a December 2004.  A closer look
shows that this striking amount is composed by money designed for some
social programs such as the National Program 'From Social Welfare to
Employment' (217 000 000 BGN), the National Program 'Beautiful Bulgaria'
(28 000 000 BGN) and so on. All these are programs designed for
improvement the situation of all poor citizens but they have been
generally declared as designed only for Roma. Most of the rest 26
million BGN were covered by different international donors but not from
the state budget.

One of the main reasons for this situation is the lack of public Roma
control and participation in the whole process of planing, realization
and reporting the Governmental plans targeting Roma. That is why
Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance "Amalipe", Bulgarian
Helsinki Committee and European Roma Information Office decided to
join their efforts for establishing a real monitoring on the state
policy related to Roma inclusion. The final aim is to promote the
transformation of Roma into an active participant in the process of
their inclusion. This program called "Towards EU accession: Roma in
South-Eastern Europe" is financially backed by CORDAID, Netherlands.

On behalf of the team of the project:

Emil Cohen, PR coordinator

*The main aims of the project are: to exersise an objective monitoring
and make an evaluation of what has been done about Roma integration in
2004 and the next years; to inform the broad public about the real
dimensions of this process; to promote the inclusion of the Roma
community as a real participant in its integration during the
forthcoming years; to monitor the state of  human rights situation of
Roma in the area of the project.

The project is being implemented by Center for Interethnic Dialogue
and Tolerance "Amalipe" (Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria), Bulgarian Helsinki
Committee and European Roma Information Office (Brussels). It is
financially supported by CORDAID, Netherlands.

Manager of the project: Deyan Kolev
Project Coordinator: Teodora Krumova
PR and relations with institutions coordinator: Emil Cohen
Coordinator for EU institutions relationship: Valeriu Nicolae 

- Main office: 5000 Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria, POB 113;
tel.: (+359) 888 681 134; e-mail: amalipe@mail.bg
- Sofia office: 1504 Sofia, Bulgaria, 7 Varbitza St, tel./fax: (+359
2) 980 94 05;
(+359) 888 33 57 07; e-mail: emil.cohen@gmail.com;

Emil Cohen
President of Tolerance Foundation, 
memeber of the Board of the BHC 

Address: 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria
4 Dobrudja St.
Phone #: (+359 2) 980 94 05; 
Cellular phone #: (+359) 0888 33 57 07;
e-mail: emil.cohen@gmail.com