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Information Forum: Improving the IT Services for the Integration Policies of the Republic of Bulgaria with Respect to Citizens of Third Countries
On December 14, 2009 the Center for the Study of Democracy held an information forum, which reported the results of the project Improving the IT Services for the Integration Policies of the Republic of Bulgaria with Respect to Citizens of Third Countries, financed by the European Fund for Integration of third country nationals.

The Forum was opened by the project coordinator Ruslan Stefanov and was moderated by Prof. Andrey Nonchev.
Prof. Jordan Kalchev delivered a presentation entitled "Information Environment development, implementation and evaluation of policies for integration of third country nationals”. He presented some of the characteristics of the information environment related to immigrants in Bulgaria and outlined the areas of information deficiencies.Useful tips were provided on how to optimize IT services for immigrants.
Kamelia Dimitrova presented an in-depth analysis of European best practices for the integration of immigrants. She discussed various concepts and practices for the integration of immigrants allowing the audience to compare these experiences and approaches to Bulgarian realities.
Prof. Sonia Chipeva provided a detailed presentation of the legal and institutional frameworks of policies for the integration of third country nationals. She explained the place and the roles of various institutions in the integration processes.
Svetla Encheva presented the results of the project’s quantitative and qualitative research - a survey of residents of 11 priority municipalities, focus groups with immigrants from Africa, Arab countries and Western Balkans and in-depth interviews with experts working in institutions which are relevant to citizens of third countries.

Peter Grigorov presented a model for an integrated software database for immigrants and their integration policies.
Besides research results, policy and conclusions regarding the lack of a unified database and accurate statistics for immigrants and the lack of effective implementation of integration policy in Bulgaria, the speakers discussed European best practices in this area, the results of a survey on attitudes of Bulgarian society towards immigrants, and suggestions for improvement in this policy field.

The ensuing open discussion raised the issue pertaining to the extent to which integration measures are useful, if at all. The lack of opinions and institutional debate on the subject show that the issue will remain open for a long time. According to Mrs. Valeria Ilareva from the Legal Clinic for Refugees and immigrants, this creates dangers for social conflicts with immigrants in the near future. Lending support to this thesis were the results of a quantitative survey (telephone interviews with 1001 respondents from 11 priority municipalities), conducted by the Scan Research Agency as part of the CSD project , indicating that the host society strongly differentiates immigrants in Bulgaria according to their ethnic origin.

* This document was created with financial support from the European Fund for Integration of third country nationals, financed by the European Union. Overall responsibility for the content of the document lies with the Center for the Study of Democracy and under no circumstances can be considered that this document reflects the official opinion of the European Union and the Contracting Authority.

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