Sofia. Roma from Bulgaria and Romania, often isolated in their own countries, integrate well in Spain and to a lesser degree in Italy, a new study showed Thursday, praising Spain’s successful policies, AFP reported.
The report by the Open Society institute found that 53 percent of Bulgarian Romas who had emigrated to Spain were employed, whereas at home the majority were jobless.
In Italy, 40 percent of Bulgarian Romas had work.
“Tolerance and sustainable integration policies, notably in Spain, lead to the successful integration of Romas,” Georgy Stoichev, head of Open Society’s Bulgarian branch, told a press conference Thursday.
Those in Spain worked mostly in agriculture, whereas in Italy they found jobs in the public and construction sectors.
On average, the rate of employment among Romas in the four countries studied — Bulgaria, Romania, Spain and Italy — was 37.4 percent, far below the 57.3-percent average for EU citizens.
Just six percent of Romas had a secondary education, compared to 67.2 among the EU population.
Living conditions were far worse in Romania and Bulgaria, where barely 20 percent of Roma had proper toilets, compared to 52 percent in Italy and 95 percent in Spain, the survey also showed.
Open Society noted a silver lining however: over the past four years, the number of Bulgarians who said they were prepared to work with Romas jumped from 29 to 44 percent.
This was even higher — at 60 percent — among those under 30.
A total 48 percent of Bulgarians also said they would not mind living in a neighbourhood with Romas, up from 32 percent previously.
Cohabitation had its limits however, with Stoichev noting that only 12 percent of people would be prepared to marry a Roma, unchanged from before.
The study was conducted in June 2011 among 4,800 Roma in Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and Spain. It questioned 1,100 native Roma in each of the four countries, and another 400 Bulgarian and Romanian Roma who had emigrated to Spain and Italy.
FOCUS Information Agency