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Facilitating access to and take up of Youth Guarantee measures by Roma youth in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania
 
Between 2013 and 2016, the EU member states started the implementation of the Youth Guarantee Programme aimed at NEET youth (youth not in employment, education or training). In Bulgaria, as well as in Hungary and Romania, substantial part of the youth in similar situation originate from Roma communities.

On 27th and 28th of September, 2017 the Center for the Study of Democracy conducted a kick-off meeting within the framework of an international initiative for Facilitating access to and take up of Youth Guarantee measures by Roma youth in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. At the meeting, methodology and indicators for study on the involvement of Roma youth in the Youth Guarantee Programme was discussed, as well as a strategy for dissemination of results and advocacy activities at local, national and regional level.

Mila Mancheva, Director of the Sociological Programme of the Center for the Study of Democracy launched the event with presentation of the activities and experience of the Programme. Liliya Dragoeva, Programme Assistant at the Sociological Programme of the Center for the Study of Democracy presented the main goals and activities to be implemented within the initiative. Slavyanka Ivanova, Senior Researcher at the Sociological Programme of the Center for the Study of Democracy proposed methodology and indicators for study on the inclusion of Roma youth in the Youth Guarantee Programme. The study envisages gathering of existing data from the statistical offices and employment offices in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania and in-depth qualitative study in 30 settlements that will include the viewpoints of the main local stakeholders. Petra Reszkető from the Budapest Institute, Alexandra Toderiță from the Romanian Center for European Policies and Albert Memeti from Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative (Romania) presented the strengths and resources of their organisations that might be employed for the implementation of the initiative and outlined main challenges for the planning and implementation of the research and advocacy activities at national level for their countries. Gancho Iliev from World without Borders Association (Bulgaria) presented main ideas for implementation of advocacy activities at local level in Bulgaria, stressing the involvement of educational institutions and the offering of interesting and attractive qualification and type of jobs to the young people.

The second day of the meeting was launched by Liliya Dragoeva, who presented the priorities of the upcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and the opportunities for implementation of advocacy activities within the framework of the announced events. She stressed the necessity of joint work with the Roma Standing Conference in Bulgaria for inclusion of the Roma integration among the topics of the Presidency and of participation in selected events to present the conclusions and recommendations of the forthcoming study. As most appropriate events were identified those connected with the Danube strategy, the Non-Formal Council on Employment, Social Policy, Healthcare and Consumer Issues, as well as the Public Employment Services Network Meeting. Alexandra Toderiță from the Romanian Center for European Policies noted that more opportunities for advocacy activities would be available in the framework of the Romania Presidency in 2019, because the programme is not adopted yet and steps could be made for inclusion of specific topics and events in it. Slavyanka Ivanova presented a concept for internet portal dedicated to Roma inclusion-connected initiatives, to serve the dissemination of the results of the commenced initiative. The portal will be intended to present news, data, results, recommendations of the current and possible future initiatives connected with Roma integration, as well as useful links to webpages of organisations working in the field.

 
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