Roma Inclusion In Bulgaria – What Works, What Are The Challenges?

April 5, 2012


Sofia, Bulgaria:  Roma protest: I am an European citizen, too
Autor: Nadezhda Chipeva/Capital Weekly

SOFIA, May 16, 2011 The Minister in charge of EU funds management, Tomislav Donchev, opened the workshop “Successfully scaling up work on Roma Inclusion: Challenges, good practices and lessons learned”. The discussions held at the workshop are an important input to the update of the national strategy on Roma inclusion. As all other EU member states with sizeable Roma communities, Bulgaria will develop a national strategy by December 2011.

In his opening remarks, Minister Donchev stressed that what is needed is not another document, what is needed is a “real” strategy - for the benefits of the Roma community and the whole Bulgarian society. He acknowledged successes and challenges ahead. For example on housing, he stated that “clearly, the past measures did not work, therefore a new approach is needed”. The Minister’s emphasis on developing a strategy which is going to make a visible difference provided the guiding principle for the more than 100 workshop participants, representing Roma NGOs, civil society, central and local government, the European Commission as well as international partners.

The one-day event aimed at identifying challenges and good practices in six key areas:

  • Еducation
  • Еmployment
  • Health care
  • Housing policy
  • Rule of law
  • Public communications

" Clearly, the past measures did not work, therefore a new approach is needed "

Tomislav Donchev

Bulgarian Minister in charge of EU funds management, Tomislav Donchev,

Mamta Murthi, World Bank Sector Director for Human Development in Europe and Central Asia, emphasized the economic benefits from better Roma inclusion. She pointed out that the active inclusion in the labor market would increase productivity and generate revenues for the budget while reducing social assistance costs. According to data from 2007, World Bank calculations show that the possibility for annual increase in GDP amounts to 2 500 Euro per every working-age Roma in Bulgaria. In other words, stepping up efforts to better include the Roma population not only has a social dimension but also brings significant economic benefits – to all Bulgarians..