Roma activists from Bulgaria had a meeting with the President of European Parliament
Representatives of 8 Roma NGOs had a special meeting with the President of European Parliament Hans-Gert Pottering. The meeting was initiated by Mr. Pottering and took place in Bulgarian Parliament on April 20. Bulgarian MEP Atanas Paparizov and Miroslav Popov – Deputy Chair of the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Demographic Issues were organizers of the meeting.
Nikolay Kirilov, Deyan Kolev and Zlatko Mladenov spoke about the situation of Roma integration process in its major fields. Nikolay Kirilov from “Roma-Lom” Foundation emphasized the necessity of cooperation between central institutions and local power for implementing the Roma integration strategies. He required a tailored approach that takes into account the local peculiarities in all integration activities.
Deyan Kolev from Center “Amalipe” depicted the problems that the education of Roma in Bulgaria faces. He stressed the lack of consistent and really-implemented policy for educational integration by the side of Bulgarian institutions. At the same time he also presented the achievements in this field during the EU Accession process. Two challenges were outlined as crucial after January 1, 2007: the commitment for Roma integration activities by the side of Bulgarian institutions sharply decreases and the financial resource of Phare program is close to its end without clear evidences that the resource of the European funds will be used for Roma integration. Deyan Kolev proposed to be approved special Resolution of the European Parliament in support of Roma educational integration (linked with the Resolution of the Situation of Roma in EU approved on April 28, 2005). He also proposed the establishments of Revolving fund for NGOs implementing projects for Roma educational integration that are financed by European funds. Finally he required that the European Parliament continues urging the national institutions to undertake consistent policy for Roma integration and to implement it.
Zlatko Mladenov from Roma Public Council “Kupate” spoke about the living conditions of Roma and about the problems of Roma ghettos. He pointed examples of interaction between Roma NGOs and Municipality of Sofia for solving these problems. He also explained that Roma NGOs played significant role in this process.
Mr. Pottering thanked for the concrete ideas and suggestions and acclaimed the efforts of Roma organizations. He emphasized that the European Parliament will support consistent policies for Roma inclusion at European as well as at national levels. The President will review carefully the suggestions raised during the meeting and will continue his contacts with the Roma organizations from Bulgaria.
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