Bulgaria's GERB Vows 1 000 Job Openings for Young RomaSociety | April 9, 2012, Monday // 17:29| views
Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, is also the Chairman of the National Council for Partnership on Ethnic and Integration Issues. Photo by BGNES
By the year 2020, Roma will have a 23% share of Bulgaria's labor market, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
Speaking at a national round table on Roma problems, Tsvetanov, who is also the Chairman of the National Council for Partnership on Ethnic and Integration Issues, reported that according to the latest Census, 325 343 Roma live in Bulgaria, which is nearly 5% of the country's population.
The Minister, however, stressed that among children 9 years of age or younger, the share of Roma is much larger – nearly 21%. Roma represent 18% of the population between the ages of 10 and 29.
At the forum, organized on the occasion of April 8, the International Roma Day, he presented once again the National Strategy of Republic of Bulgaria for Roma Integration in 2012 – 2020, already passed by the Parliament, reiterating that Bulgaria's responsibility for Roma as society and as an EU member State is greater than ever.
Tsvetanov stressed that the government of his ruling Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB is working hard on educating Roma children and preparing them for the labor market.
The Minister added that politicians must attend such round tables to hear the real problems faced by Roma and attempt to solve them.
"In the last 20 years, these politicians visited Roma communities only at elections time to make empty promises. This prompted the Roma ghettos, the lack of good work habits and the staggering numbers of school dropouts," said he.
The Ministry of Social Policy and Labor is launching on June 1, 2012, a program for subsidized employment in regions with high unemployment rates and compact Roma population. The program will provide at least 1 000 job openings for young Roma, 29-year-old or younger.
The round table was held in the northwestern city of Montana. The region of Montana has the highest percentage of Roma population (nearly 13%) from all 28 regions in the country. It is followed by the regions of Sliven, Dobrich, and Yambol.
The forum is being organized for the 2nd time with the participation of Members of the Parliament from the region from GERB's Parliamentary group, leaders of Roma NGOs and employees from social services. It was opened with a Roma song, performed by Bulgaria's 2012 Eurovision contest representative, Sofi Marinova, who is known as the country's Roma Pop Folk Diva.
"The National Strategy will focus on policies for integration in specific sectors. It will bring an end to the attempts of individual Roma leaders to rescue their community on their own," Tsvetanov concluded.
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