Romania says will support Roma integration

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Romanian authorities will help small towns and villages develop and implement programmes for Roma integration, junior labour minister Valentin Mocanu said Friday.

"A small village with a maximum of 10 employees does not have the capacity or the experience to transform a good idea into a project or to meet the challenges of the European Union's bureaucratic regulations," Mocanu said during a press conference, a day after his official visit to Paris.

Romania has been accused by France of not using European funds to promote the integration of Roma.

According to official figures, Bucharest has so far signed 26 projects cofinanced by the EU, worth 85 million euros.

Nearly 300 Roma packed by France on two chartered planes and expelled to Romania arrived in Bucharest on Thursday, as part of the French government's campaign to dismantle unauthorised camps.

The Roma community in Romania numbers 530,000 according to the national census or 2.5 million according to non-governmental organisations, who say that some do not declare themselves as Roma fearing discrimination.

Despite some progress regarding access to education, many Roma in Romania suffer from severe poverty.

© 2010 AFP

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