MINELRES: ERIO: Bulgarian Prime Minister Stanishev Calls for EU Roma Policy

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Sat Jun 16 17:28:08 2007

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Systemic National Roma Policies, Effective Use of EU Funds Prerequisites
for Progress on Inclusion

Bulgarian Prime Minister Stanishev Calls for EU Roma Policy
Open Society Institute Sofia: Maria Metodieva , +359 887 76 1227
The World Bank: Christina Lakatos, +1 202 458 1343

Sofia, June 12, 2007
"Moving from sporadic to integrated Roma inclusion policies, as well as
making efficient use of European Union funds, are necessary conditions
for the continued success of the Decade of Roma Inclusion", agreed the
representatives of the nine Decade countries Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech
Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Slovakia, and Serbia,
Roma civil society, and international organizations at the tenth
international meeting of the Decade`s Steering Committee today in Sofia.

"The EU must develop a European-wide Roma policy," - stressed Bulgarian
Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev, whose country is currently concluding
its one-year term as president of the Roma Decade. EU Commissioner for
Regional Policy Danuta Hubner echoed his call in a video message: "The
Roma issue is not just a national issue and thus requires a common
European response."

Open Society Institute (OSI) chairman George Soros emphasized the
importance of maximizing the use of available EU funds in both EU member
states and accession candidates. A draft OSI report presented at the
meeting analyzes best practices in Roma projects funded by the EU and
concludes from 47 examples that it is critical for Roma NGOs to
cooperate with local governments on projects that are multidimensional
and part of a broad policy framework.

"Local governments must be capable of putting in quality applications
for Structural Funds, and the Roma community needs to be involved every
step of the way," - said Mr. Soros. "National governments and the
European Commission need to help local governments to make the most of
the funds available to them."

Roma civil society presented the first-ever monitoring report of the
Decade initiative, DecadeWatch. An analysis and ranking of government
inputs toward institutional arrangements and the four Decade priority
areas of education, health, employment, and housing, the report found
that while all countries have made progress since the Decade`s launch in
2005, governments must take the next step and scale up from pilot
projects to strategic, integrated national policies that filter down to
the municipal level.

Measuring progress on the Decade`s objectives will also require
systematic nationwide data collection on Roma, without which results are
impossible to determine. The current limited data collection in most
countries cannot be related to the entire population.

"The non-Roma community must understand that Roma inclusion is in
everyone`s economic interest," - said Shigeo Katsu, World Bank
Vice-President for Europe and Central Asia. "As populations age and
decline in Central and Eastern Europe, a well-educated and trained Roma
population is the only way to ensure productivity and continued economic

For more information, visit http://www.romadecade.org
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) is an international advocacy
organization, which promotes political and public discussion on Roma
issues by providing factual and in-dept information on a range of policy
issues to the European Union institutions, Roma civil organizations,
governmental authorities and intergovernmental bodies. 
The ERIO cooperates with a network of a large number of organizations
and acts to combat racial discrimination and social exclusion through
awareness raising, lobbying and policy development.
Ave. Edouard Lacomble 17 
Brussels 1040 
Tel: 0032(0)27333462
Fax: 0032(0)27333875
For more information:

E-mail: ivan.ivanov@erionet.org


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