EU Commission Allocates EUR 55 M to Roma Integration in Bulgaria

Bulgaria in EU | June 18, 2015, Thursday // 16:11|  views

Photo by BGNES

More than BGN 110 M, or EUR 55 M, of funding earmarked for Bulgaria under the 2014-2020 operational programs are to be set aside for Roma integration, a EU official has said.

"The money is available now, could be used outright and the work [done with it] has to be complex," according to EU Commission Vice President for Budget and Human Resources Kristalina Georgieva.

On Thursday she told the Bulgarian National Radio that more needs to be done than what has been achieved at present to tackle integration problems.

She called on Bulgarian authorities to put in more effort to help Roma children aged between 7 and 15, a quarter of whom do not go to school.

In her words, tensions which rose in the Bulgarian village of Garmen and the Sofia neighborhood of Orlandovtsi in the past few days were just "the tip of the iceberg".

There were multiple incidents involving members of the local ethnic Bulgarian and Roma communities, with brawls which started in both places over music played too loudly growing into days-long protests against the Roma people.

"[There are] responsibilities for both sides. This is not only a matter of rights - of course, rights matter too. [But] rights come with responsibilities," she said.

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Tags: Kristalina Georgieva, Georgieva, Roma, Garmen, Orlandovtsi, EU, EU funds, Bulgaria, Integration, tensions, protests


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