08.05.2018The European Commission approved the Civil Society Monitoring Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy of the Republic of Bulgaria for Roma Integration
As in previous years, the period of 2016-2017 does not mark any significant advances in the implementation of the Bulgarian NRIS. Improvements have been observed in the usage of EU funds for Roma inclusion (especially ESF and partly ERDF funds, while the engagement of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) remains problematic) and for education (especially in reducing early school leaving and increasing participation in different levels of education, although segregation remains a problem). Deterioration is obvious in the fields of governance (especially regarding the legitimacy of the National Roma Contact Point (NRCP) and the consultative process with civil society) and antigypsyism (with a significant rise in anti-Roma rhetoric, publications and even actions). Serious challenges, however, remain in all fields.
This is stated in the Civil Society Monitoring Report on the Implementation of the National Strategy of the Republic of Bulgaria for Roma Integration. The 2016-17 report includes thematic chapters on governance (including the use of European funds for Roma integration), anti-discrimination, anti-gypsysm, the effect of basic education policies, and local research in Plovdiv.
Organizations recommend specific measures to the governmental institutions, the National Assembly, the Commission for Protection against Discrimination, the Ombudsman, and the local authorities. They include the establishment of a new policy-consultation framework to replace the non-functioning Council for integration issues; programs for training and employment of Roma professionals (teachers, doctors, social workers, employment specialists, police officers, etc.); legislative changes to the legalization of constructive buildings that are the only housing for their occupants; the establishment of an effective National Communication Strategy to change the negative attitudes towards the Roma; a real launch of desegregation of the so-called "Roma" schools; abolition of mandatory pre-school age fees and many others. Recommendations are also made to Roma organizations and activists who should build consensus on some key issues.
The report for Bulgaria is made by Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance "Amalipe", "World Without Borders" NGO - St. Zagora, SF "Indroma" - Kuklen, Roma Academy for Culture and Education - Sliven and Gender Alternatives - Plovdiv. It was approved by the European Commission in early May. It is part of a pilot initiative run by the European Commission and coordinated by the Central European University, implemented in all EU countries with the active involvement of national NGOs. In Bulgaria, the initiative is carried out by a consortium of nine organizations, coordinated by the Amalipe Center.
Conclusions and recommendations on the impact of the main educational policies on Roma integration will be discussed at the "State of Roma Educational Integration" forum, to be held in Sofia on 14 May.