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Friday, November 24, 2017, 

Minister Carovska says Roma inclusion requires budget enhancement

Minister Carovska says Roma inclusion requires budget enhancement

Tirana, 10 November 2017 (MIA) - Inclusion of the Roma community is an additional task for the Macedonian society and requires enhancement of budget planning, said Minister of Labor and Social Policy Mila Carovska at a conference in Tirana on Friday.

Regional conference "Filling in the Budget Gaps in Roma Integration Policies" is organized by the Regional Cooperation Council's (RCC) Roma Integration 2020 (RI2020) Action Team and Albania's Ministry of Health and Social Protection.

"We are faced with numerous challenges and attempts to put our priorities into practice. Housing is the biggest problem in our economy and the budget for these purposes should double. The ministry and the World Bank will focus on reforms in social protection system next year, for the purpose of better allocation of funds and lowering of the poverty rate among all citizens", said Carovska.

The RCC's "Balkan Barometer" has shown that 16 percent of business leaders in Southeast Europe would not hire Roma, regardless of their job qualifications, while 19 percent are not certain. Almost 55 percent of employers believe that employment of Roma would have a negative effect on sale of goods and services, and the working atmosphere.

"The region needs coordinated and cooperative investments to cut down its social expenses. This is especially important as 30 to 50% of the approved Roma Action Plans throughout the region rely on external donor funds. Kicking off a process of much better donor coordination and making sure money is spent effectively to produce tangible change on the ground is of extreme importance," said RCC Secretary General, Goran Svilanovic.

Albanian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Ogerta Manastirliu, stressed that it was high time to integrate Roma and Egyptians fully in the society, which was the goal of her ministry. She added that there was a national action plan in that regard, including concrete actions in service of integration especially focused on housing and employment, highlighting that 55 percent of these measures are being financed from the budget and 45 percent from the donors.

Representatives of the regional governments and donors are expected to identify and match adequate funding opportunities either on bilateral or regional basis for measures and programs that cannot be fully funded from national budgets. ik/12:51

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