On May 19, 2010 at Press Club BTA
the Center for the Study of Democracy presented the results of the project Developing Indicators and Methods of Evaluating the Goals and Actions Related to the Integration of Citizens of Third Countries.
The project has been implemented with the financial support of the European Union through the European Fund for Integration of third country nationals.
The participants in the conference were Prof. Andrey Nonchev, Director of the Sociology Program at the Center for the Study of Democracy and the project coordinator and project experts Prof. Sonia Chipeva (Department of Statistics and Econometrics at UNWE), Stefka Blazheva, Head of Statistics on Migration Department at NSI, Svetla Encheva, Sociological Program of the Center for the Study of Democracy.
Prof. Andrey Nonchev summarized the nature, objectives and results of the project and stressed the contribution of the Center for the Study of Democracy in developing a novel system of indicators to achieve implementation of policies for integration of third country nationals in Bulgaria. Two main indexes were presented during the press conference: an index assessing integration and an index rating tolerance levels vis-à-vis foreigners.
Stefka Blazheva focused on the opportunity to develop statistics and data collection specifically regarding foreigners living in Bulgaria. In particular, she emphasized the need to synchronize the MIA and NSI systems of collecting data on foreign nationals. Her presentation raised interest as demonstrated by the many questions related to the upcoming census and its ability to gather information on immigrants in Bulgaria.
Svetla Encheva provided an overview of prior international research projects and initiatives measuring the integration of immigrants and the integration policies for immigrants. She noted that at this stage in Bulgaria there are two main reasons not to conduct regular surveys of immigrants - first, the lack of quantitative demographic statistics, and second, the fear on the part of of many foreigners that participation in such research might have negative consequences for their legal status.
Prof. Sonia Chipeva presented the experience of some European countries (Germany, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, etc.) in evaluating immigrants integration policies. She put forward some suggestions on how the criteria and indicators for monitoring and evaluating the integration of third country nationals in the above-mentioned countries could be transferred to Bulgaria.