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Checking of Eurofunds for Roma's Support Should Be Improved

Bratislava, 26.3.2008 11:14, (TASR)

The funds coming from the EU for the support of Roma projects aimed at improving their education, housing and employment will flow directly to regional and local municipalities, Deputy Prime Minister Dusan Caplovic said following the Government session on Wednesday.

Caplovic, whose bailiwick includes Knowledge-Based Society, European Affairs, Human Rights and Minorities, says this means that the money will no longer go through non-governmental organisations (NGOs), where as much as 40 percent is being lost.

According to Caplovic, the change will secure better control in that local politicians will be right on top of what's happening on a day-to-day basis. "I think that we will finally reach a state soon where the money will be far better utilised and bring tangible results," said Caplovic.

He adds that the current modus operandi now will be that the municipality agrees with a specific NGO and pays it to resolve a given problem. "Municipalities are the most competent to check whether the projects are being implemented or not," declared Caplovic. At the same time, he said that the project monitoring of municipalities will be secured by the Supreme Audit Office (NKU), as well as by the European Commission.

In Caplovic's opinion the EU is beginning to realise that the status of the Roma minority is not a problem for national states alone, but for the EU as a whole. This, he said, is also influencing the fact that we are drawing an increasing amount of funding. In 2007-2013 Slovakia will receive as much as €200 million for Roma-related projects.

The medium-term blueprint of Roma minority development adopted by the Government also sets a goal of creating a more favourable environment for Roma community in terms of healthcare, employment and housing. "The level of education of the Roma population has been below the Slovak average for a long time, and this is particularly true regarding members of marginalised Roma communities," according to the Government blueprint.

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