24.12.2008Session of the NCCEDI


The fourth for 2008 session of the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Demographic Issues took place on December 20 in Council of Ministers Hall. More than 60 representatives of the main institutions of executive power (most of them presented by deputy ministers) and non-governmental organizations took part in the session. 

Two thousand and nine should be the year of real actions for Roma integration - said Emel Etem, Deputy Prime-Minister and Chair of NCCEDI. During 2008 we saw how successfully the Council could work since NGOs are active. Bur we need also to make the institutions of the executive power more active. Emel Etem asked all ministries to present before mid-January information about their planed activities for Roma integration and the financing of these activities. In this way a concrete Action plan will be prepared that is one of the main suggestions of Roma NGOs. Mrs. Etem appealed also to NGOs to use the Council as instrument for implementation of their goals and not to useonly international forums and conferences. It is necessary in 2009 to make the NCCEDI more efficient and working, wished E. Etem.

The Deputy-Minister of Health V.Tzekov gave information how the mobile technique supplied within Phare program is used for Roma health integration. Around 35 000 prophylactic examinations will be done until the end of 2008, the same number is planed for 2009. Ministry of Health dedicated 700 000 BGN in 2008 and 730 000 BGN in 2009 for this purpose. The health mediators were of great usage and helped the examinations very much, said Mr. Tzekov. He also explained that in July the Ministry of Health prepared Action plan for Implementation of the Health Strategy for Integration of Vulnerable Minority Groups Representatives. Deputy-Minister Tzekov agreed with the recommendations of Deyan Kolev (Deputy-Chair of NCCEDI and Chairman of Center “Amalipe”) to consult this document with Roma NGOs in advance as well as to make Ministry of Health more active in defending the position of Roma health mediators. “Health mediators will be financed in 2009 and in the following years as well. This is a question of negotiations between Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social Policy from which budget this position will be backed up.” – said Mr. Tzekov.

The Deputy-Minister of Regional Development presented the implementation of the National Program for Improving the Living Conditions of Roma. He stressed the necessity of more active behavior of municipalities and gave as an example the fact that although municipalities were provided with the opportunity to prepare specific rules for making terrains and buildings legal only 11 municipalities used it for making legal their Roma neighborhoods. Few municipalities apply with projects before Ministry of Regional Development for improving the technical infrastructure in the Roma areas. Deputy-Minister Mihalevski proposed to organize – together with NCCEDI – regional forums of municipalities with purpose to present the opportunities of the National Program for Improving the Living Conditions of Roma.

Active discussions about the preparing of new Framework Program for Roma Integration took also place. Miroslav Popov, Deputy Chair of NCCEDI indicated that until that moment mainly NGOs were active but the engagement of institutions was also necessary. The realistic term for adoption the Program is in the eve of April 8, pointed Mr. Popov. Roma NGO activists rejected this idea since this is also the eve of parliamentary elections and would make the Program part of the election campaign; it is necessary the document to be prepared in February at last. Deyan Kolev pointed that the will of tens of Roma organizations expressed during the National meeting of Roma NGOs on December 9 and included in the Declaration for real actions for Roma integration  is the Program to be adopted with Decision of the Parliament and concrete Action plan 2009-2010 backed up with financing to be adopted by Council of Ministers. Deputy Prime-Minister Etem replied that concrete Action Plan with financing will be prepared in January-February and its implementation will be felt during the first months of 2009. But adoption of the Framework Program by the Parliament is hard to happen within this Parliament since the elections are coming. It was decidedthe Program and the Action Plan to be finalized in February and voted in the Council of Ministers in March 2009.

The preparation of the Annual Report for NCCEDI activities in 2009 was discussed in the end of the session. It was agreed NGOs to take part in the process and to send their suggestions until the end of January. The suggestions will be summarized by Ethnic and Demographic Issues Directorate.

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