Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister: Roma should be part of the economic uplift and the development of the country
The Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Council for Coordination on Ethnic and Integration Issues (NCCEII) at the Council of Ministers, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, together with World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, Philippe le Houérou opened today a two-day conference with international participation on the implementation of the National Strategy for Roma Integration adopted by the Government. The event, organized by the NCCEII and the World Bank, is focused on the effective monitoring and appraisal of the document and on achieving results from its implementation.
“Such discussions could provide good models and convince us that Bulgarian Roma could become part of the economic uplift and the development of the country,” said Deputy Prime Minister Tsvetanov. He stressed out that the expertise of the World Bank, which could be delivered under the Memorandum of Understanding signed yesterday, will allow implementing models which have taken effect in other European countries.
Tsvetan Tsvetanov pointed out that introducing the Strategy for discussion at the Parliament is extremely important and he expressed his hopes that it will be adopted by the Parliamentary represented parties through a wide consensus. “When we speak about the implementation of a national strategy, it should not be the strategy of one Government, one minister or one NGO,” said he and emphasized that success and results could be achieved only in partnership with the Local Government and the legislative body.
World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, Philippe le Houérou, congratulated the Government on the documents which he described as a sign of the strong commitment of the executive branch for solving the problems. He expressed the opinion of his institution that investing in the education of Roma and in inclusion means to have a smart economy, especially considering that 23% of the labor force entrants in the labor market is of Roma origin.
“Today we are undertaking a very important step – we move from designing a strategy to its implementation and measuring the results. The World Bank could offer their exceptional experience in the monitoring and evaluation and I am glad that we have such a fine coalition of dedicated partners – the Government, UNDP, the European Commission. I think that all together we could translate the Strategy into real, concrete, measurable results,” pointed out Mr. Le Houérou. In the words of the Danish Ambassador to Bulgaria, Kaare Janson, whose country is holding the EU Presidency now, a lot of member states have not yet developed enough tools to tangibly improve the situation of Roma and the impressive changes Bulgaria is making could inspire them.
Within the working sessions representatives of the executive and local authorities, of the European Commission and the World Bank, of the non-government sector, of the countries from the initiative “Decade of Roma Inclusion” will discuss the methods for effective implementation of the National Strategy, the monitoring instruments, as well as how the results will be evaluated.