On November 10, the Managing Authorities of the Operational Program "Human Resources Development" and "Science and education for smart growth," announced procedure for realization of the operation by which will be supported implementation of municipal plans for Roma Inclusion 2015 - 2020. Specific beneficiary were municipalities that have approved - by a decision of the City Council - Municipal plan for Roma inclusion 2015 - 2020 and they were able to apply only in partnership-with NGOs, school / kindergarten and employer. How far is the procedure and what comes next?
The integrated procedure was provided to be implemented in two components:
Component 1 (€ 50 millions lev OPHRD +5 millions lev OPSASG) to be implemented by the municipality with updated municipal plans for Roma Integration for the period 2015-2020 in accordance with the National Strategy of the Republic of Bulgaria for Roma Integration 2012 -2020. These are the municipalities of so-called "Rural areas" and those urbanized municipalities that have provided construction of social housing in their IPUD. They will realized the so called "soft measures", divided into four areas: access to employment, education, social and health services, community development and overcoming negative stereotypes;
Component 2 (30 mlns lev OPHRD +3 millions lev OPSASG) in the municipalities of 39 cities from first to third hierarchical level of the national polycentric system according NKPR 2013-2025 - beneficiaries under Priority axis 1 OPRD 2014-2020, whose IPUD includes measures to build social housing. They will realize not only "soft measures", but construction / reconstruction of social housing as well.
In March were approved concepts of fifty-two municipalities within Component 1. List of approved municipalities see here. They will be invited by the Managing Authorities of OPHRD and OPSASG - as specific beneficiaries to develop integrated proposals. Each municipality will develop a project that will include OPHRD and OPSASG components. Application Guidelines will be uploaded for public comment on the web sites of the authorities in the next few days. This means that in a month and a half 52 municipalities will be invited to begin drafting the proposals.
The fact that each municipality is a beneficiary means that it will not compete with other municipalities and will have to make efforts in developing quality project proposals. In a letter sent by the CCU to the mayors of 52 municipalities approved shows many gaps and weaknesses in the developed concepts, that should be corrected. The lack of real consideration of local specifics, of municipal plans for Roma integration and the absence of innovative solutions for solving problems are the main weaknesses. The letter explained that it is necessary municipal plans for Roma integration to cover the period until 2020, those municipalities whose plans cover the period up to 2017 should update them.
As the approved concepts are worth less than 26 millions lev, which is significantly less than the given 55 millions lev, it is expected with other resources to be re-invited municipalities that meet the requirements of Component 1: having approved plans for Roma integration. It is not yet decided how and when it will happen.
The municipalities of Component 2 (urban municipalities that have provided construction of social housing in their IPUD and also have approved municipal plans for Roma integration) will be invited to develop proposals as specific beneficiaries in the second quarter of 2017. According to the approved investment programs municipalities, which have included social housing projects are the following (list is indicative and based on the approved investment programs): Municipality of Blagoevgrad, Municipality of Bourgas, Municipality of Varna, Municipality of Velingrad Municipality of Vratsa,Municipality of Gabrovo, Municipality of Gotse Delchev, Municipality of Dobrich (what type of social object will be included in IPUD will be specified in 2019), Municipality of Dupnitsa (in 2019 will specify what social object will be included in IPGVR) Municipality of Kazanlak , Municipality of Kardzhali , Municipality of Lovech,Municipality of Lom , Municipality of Montana, Pernik Municipality, Municipality of Petrich, Plovdiv Municipality, Razgrad Municipality, Ruse Municipality, Municipality of Svishtov, Silistra Municipality, Smolyan Municipality, Stara Zagora Municipality, Municipality of Targovishte, Haskovo Municipality, Municipality of Shumen and Gorna Oryahovitsa. Some of them have not approved municipal plans for Roma integration - eg. Varna Municipality approval failed due to reaction of ultra-nationalists. They can apply if at the time of application have approved Plan to 2020.