MINELRES: Fwd: Chairman of Bulgarian Parliament held a meeting with Roma activists

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Thu May 10 17:31:59 2007

Original sender: Roma Virtual Network <romale@zahav.net.il>

The Chairman of Bulgarian Parliament held a meeting with Roma activists 

“It is necessary to look at the budget for the next year as well as at
the draft laws discussed in the Parliament to foster Roma integration.
It seems a good idea the Framework Program for Roma integration, and
better its updated version, to be adopted by the Parliament and budget
financing for its implementation to be defined as you propose” replied
the Chairman of Bulgarian Parliament Mr. George Pirinsky to the
suggestions of Roma activists at a special meeting with Roma NGOs. 

The meeting took place on May 4 in the Bulgarian Parliament. It was
organized by Mr. Miroslav Popov, Deputy Chairman of the National Council
for Cooperation on Ethnic and Demographic Issues (NCCEDI). Twelve Roma
activists took part in the meeting.[1] Deputy Minister Baki Huyseinov
(President of the Decade of Roma Inclusion), George Krastev (Head of
“Roma integration” Department within Ethnic and Demographic Issues
Directorate) and Petar Stefanov (Director of Roma TV and MEP candidate)
were also present. 

The Roma representatives outlined the most aching obstacles before Roma
integration: the so-called “Roma strategies” approved until now are not
implemented, there is no financing from the state budget for them, they
have low normative status and are not mainstreamed in the general
legislation, there is no connection between the efforts of central
institutions and municipal ones, the segregation of Roma ghettos is
going deeper, Roma business meets serious obstacles, and so on. 

The Framework Program for Equal Integration of Roma in Bulgarian Society
and its non-implementation became one of the major topics discussed..
Assen Slavchev (Roma-Lom Foundation) pointed that Bulgaria had 42
strategies and programs for Roma integration – good in quality but not
implemented. Deyan Kolev (Center “Amalipe” – Veliko Turnovo) outlined
that these strategies remained “paper tigers” because of four major
reasons: no state financing for them, the administrative infrastructure
for Roma integration process has been insignificant (NCCEDI has only
“consultative competences”; the ministries with managing competences
have no structures that deal with Roma integration), their legal status
is too low (only “Decision of the Council of Ministers”), they are not
mainstreamed in the general legislation adopted by the Parliament. Deyan
Kolev proposed the Framework Program to be adopted by a law or at least
by Decision of the Parliament and financing from the state budget for
its implementation to be defined. He also proposed the other “Roma
strategies” to receive proper financing within the budgets of their
responsible ministries. 

Mr. Popov (Deputy Chair of NCCEDI) explained that the Framework Program
for Roma integration needs significant correction or even new version.
This will happen in the end of this year. He promised that this will be
a joint process: Roma NGOs and state institutions will participate in
the process. The other representatives of state institutions agreed with
Mr. Popov’s statement. 

In the end of the discussion Mr. Pirinski concluded that the meeting
convinced him in the necessity of permanent discussions with Roma
representatives and in the necessity of targeted actions for Roma
integration. According to him employment and qualification should be the
main priorities.. “It is unacceptable to have such a high structural
unemployment, Bulgarian business to look for foreign employees and at
the same time thousands of Roma to be unemployed because of lack of
qualification.” – insisted Mr. Pirinski. He agreed with the idea a new
updated version of the Framework Program for Roma Integration to be
adopted by the Parliament as well as financing from the state budget for
its implementation to be defined. “I promise that in 6 months I will
invite you again to see what has happened and what we have done.” - said
Mr. Pirinski. 

[1] Ognyana Naydenova (coordinator of Hi-Tech Program), Anton Karagyozov
(Roma-Plovdiv Foundation), Assen Kolev (Assenovgrad), Assen Slavchev
(Roma – Lom Foundation), George Bogdanov (National Roma Center – Sofia),
Deyan Kolev (Center “Amalipe” – Veliko Turnovo), Mitko Dokov (District
Roma Union – Burgass), Plamen Ananiev (Montana), G. Parushev, Svetlin
Raykov (Deputy Mayor of Lom), Toma Ivanov and Hristo Mladenov (Hope for

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