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Intercultural Dialogue Europe



Major Challenges 

Inclusion of Roma minority; Perceived threat or fear caused by demographic decrease of majority population vis a vis increase of citizens from traditional minorities (Roma, Turkish); possible loss of identity and decline of Bulgarian language because of EU membership. 

General Approach to ICD  

Public action (national):

Public action (regional/ local):

NGOs/Foundations (national level):

Main Interpretation

A means to assure peace and security in a society with important traditional minorities.

1. General Authority

National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Demographic Issues (NCCEDI) within the Council of Ministers (http://www.nccedi.government.bg%20/)

Responsible for monitoring, analysis and coordination of measures creating conditions in order to sustain and develop minority cultures and to preserve the most important elements of their identity. Funding of projects related to minorities. NCCED coordinates the policies and actions of 16 ministries, 9 state agencies and 42 NGOs on behalf of persons belonging to ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities; including policies related to ICD. The Council has branches on the regional and on the municipal level, uniting representatives from state and local institutions and from the civil sector. At all levels, authorities collaborate with the traditional cultural and educative centres, such as chitalishtas and houses of culture.


  • National Action Plan on Social Inclusion 2006-2008;
  • National Action Plan on the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015;
  • National Action Plan against Discrimination (2007).

EYID-coordination body:

Ministry of Culture (MoC)

National implementation strategy (http://ec.europa.eu/culture/eac/dialogue/strategies_en.html)

2. Culture


Ministry of Culture (MoC)

  • Department for Cultural Integration;
  • Public Council on Cultural Diversity;
  • Directorate of European integration and international cooperation.

Develops programmes and strategies and provides financial support to the projects of minorities.

Civil Society (EX):

Next Page Foundation, Sofia

The foundation is a partner organisation of the Open Society Institute Budapest (Soros) whose aim is to combat the "intellectual isolation of certain regions and minority groups such as Roma", e.g. via its project to build a "Romani Library". It also provides information and consultancy services, support for translations and the growth of independent private publishing.

3. Education

Ministry of Education and Science (MES)

It has a Directorate on Educational and Cultural Integration (since 2005), responsible for secondary education, having responsibility for "cultural integration".A special department "Integration through intercultural education" was established to improve the integration of children and students from different ethnic groups in Bulgaria.

Policies: Strategy for Educational Integration of Minority children and students (2004), supplemented by a follow-up action plan for the school year 2008/9.

Consultative Council on the Education of Children and Pupils belonging to ethnic minorities

This governmental body was set up by the MES for consultation, cooperation and coordination among MES, NCCEDI, other ministries, institutions and NGOs, working in the field of education.

It was followed in 2006 by the creation of the Center on educational integration of children and pupils from ethnic minorities which is responsible for the management of the budget resources, attraction of additional donors for assisting the municipalities and non-profit organisations in the desegregation of minority, mostly Roma people.

4. Youth


State Agency for Youth and Sports

EX: Project ‘Human Rights and Peace in the Balkans' as part of ‘All different - All equal' campaign of Council of Europe.

5. Sports


State Agency for Youth and Sports
(http://www.youthsport.bg%20/) (see above)

6. Other domestic responsibilities of importance for ICD

Ministry of Labour and Social Policy

Open Society Institute

Legal Programme which provides support for juridical reform

Roma Programme which supports civil initiatives for change, establishment and inclusion of Roma NGOs and individual experts in the process of policy-making on the integration of Roma people.

Civil Society (EX):

A large number of NGOs, founded after 1989 and funded mainly by international sources, are committed to support minorities' rights and interests, for example:

International Centre for Minority Studies and Intercultural Relations (IMIR)

Award: In 2000 IMIR won Europe's most prestigious human rights award - the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic - for achievements in providing equal opportunities for education of children from Bulgaria's minority communities.

Portal of Ethnic Minorities in Bulgaria

Acting as a communication forum between the donor organisations and their beneficiaries, providing an extensive list of NGOs involved in minorities' issues.

7. Trans-border / International ICD programmes

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)

Coordination of the membership of Bulgaria in UN, UNESCO, CoE etc., coordination of the ‘Citizens for Europe' EC program (2007-2013) where ICD is a priority.

State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad

In charge for the preservation of the spiritual heritage of the nation abroad.

Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW)

In charge of cross-border cooperation projects under EU pre-accession funds (PHARE) (cultural cooperation components) and Structural funds for regional development.