Opportunities and Challenges for Roma Integration


The problems and challenges for Roma inclusion were the main topic of the international seminar that was held in Oslo between the 28th and the 30th of October 2015. The seminar was organized by the EEA Grants’ NGO Programmes in Bulgaria and Romania, the Norwegian embassies in Sofia and Bucharest, and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

The focus of the discussions was the state of Roma minority in Bulgaria, Romania and Norway, the difficulties and best examples in solving problems related to education, employment, housing, and development of Roma community as a whole in these countries. The problems of Roma integration are priority for Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway, which finance many projects aimed at the integration of Roma minority through their NGO Programmes and a number of other programmes within the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism.

“Only 45% of Roma children attend kindergarten, and less than 1% of Roma people graduate from university. The unemployment rate among Roma minority is 54%, and 33% of Roma people live in absolute poverty“. That was said by Maria Metodieva from the Trust for Social Achievement in her presentation. A similar picture of Roma “exclusion” in Romania drew Florin Moisa from the Resource Center for Roma Communities (his presentation is available here).

Good practices regarding housing and Roma participation in local communities were shares by Daniela Mihaylova (Equal Opportunities Initiative) and Liliya Makaveeva (Integro Association – Bulgaria). Deyan Kolev from Amalipe Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance talked about the educational issues and early dropping out of school of Roma children.

The documentaries Bread and TV of Georgi Stoev (Jacky) and Toto and His Sisters of the director Alexander Nanau were presented at the seminar.