Swiss Parliament Head to Meet Officials, Visit Project Sites in Bulgaria

Diplomacy | July 4, 2016, Monday // 13:03|  views

File photo, EPA/BGNES

Swiss Federal Assembly President Christa Markwalder begins her three-day visit to Bulgaria on Monday.

From July 04 to 06, she is set to meet with  President Rosen Plevneliev, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov, and business representatives.

Ms Markwalder is also to attend sites of two project financed through the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Program (BSCP): Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings and the Inclusion of Roma and other vulnerable groups.

The project "Integrated approach for the social inclusion of Roma and other vulnerable groups in the Municipality of Plovdiv" begins in September 2016. Meetings with teachers, children and parents are planned in Stolipinovo, the Roma neighborhood of Plovdiv.

The project in Plovdiv, worth CHF 0.6338 M (EUR 0.584 M) is part of the Program for the social inclusion of Roma and other vulnerable groups whose total budget is CHF 8.088 M (more than EUR 7.455 M).

Of these, 85% are Switzerland's contribution, while the rest is provided by three Bulgarian ministries, namely those of Labor and Social Policy, Education, and Health.

In a statement, the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Programme says it targets mainly Roma children aged 3-10 living in large Bulgarian towns "with the aim to better socialize, educate and integrate them, thus providing better access to jobs in the future".

"Special attention is paid to young Roma women and their families for an easy access to health services and awareness about disease prevention, birth control and children care. The project will support building and renovating primary schools, kindergartens and health centers. Roma empowerment through arts and culture is the third pillar of the Programme."

The Programme is part of the Swiss contribution to Bulgaria which amounts to EUR 76 M (more than EUR 70 M) allocated for thematic funds and projects to be implemented between 2010 and 2019.

The BSCP is providing support in areas where Bulgaria has claimed development needs and where Switzerland can offer know-how and expertise.

These include environment and waste, security and stability, social inclusion of minorities and vulnerable groups, civil society participation, institutional partnerships, as well research and education.

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Tags: Christa Markwalder, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Programme, Stolipinovo


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