Hate speech by Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister

Picture credit: Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

Once again, antigypsyist hate speech comes from the highest political level in Bulgaria. This time, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov demonised Roma in strongest terms after two incidents of violence carried out by individuals of Roma origin.

While we condemn the violent acts against a police man and a service man, we need to make it clear that hate speech and collective punishment against a whole group of citizens is utterly wrong and unacceptable.

Hate speech against the Roma community has strongly increased in recent years and no state institution in the country raises the issue. Vice versa: all political parties use anti-Roma rhetoric – not only the far right nationalists, but also the big mainstream parties.  This comes together with purposeful propaganda of the political class against civil society organisations and corrupting of the democratic process among the Roma community. 

Liliya Makaveva, ERGO Network board member from Integro Association has translated the following article reporting on the hate speech of Krasimir Karakachanov in order to raise awareness of European civil society that there are no limits for the political class in Bulgaria to blame the Roma community in their chase of political power.

Original article in Bulgarian.

“Gypsies in Bulgaria have become extremely insolent and the tolerance of Bulgarian society has been exhausted”.

This was said by the Minister of Defense, Krassimir Karakachanov, in connection with the latest case of assault on a serviceman in the village of Voyvodinovo. The Minister visited the village, where he met the village mayor Dimitar Toskov, the Mayor of Maritza Municipality Dimitar Ivanov and the head of the Plovdiv Regional Police Directorate. The commander of the 68 Brigade Special Forces, Brigadier General Yavor Mateev, met Krassimir Karakachanov as well. The Minister revealed that before the meeting he visited the injured military at ‘St. Panteleimon’ Hospital. “He will be operated tomorrow. He has a scuffed cheek and a lot of bruising around his eyes. The attackers hit him mainly in the head. His condition is good, he has an average bodily injury and maybe he will be released from hospital in a few days. The Ministry of Defense will bear all the costs of the treatment”, said Karakachanov.

“A few days ago a policeman was beaten, and now a military officer and this cannot go on any longer. The truth is that a comprehensive program to solve the Gypsy question needs to be elaborated. People don’t have to tolerate part of the population that only has rights and does not want to understand that there are duties and must that they must comply with the law. The measures must be literally binding the social benefits with the education and labour. Bulgaria must stop taking into account Brussels officials and human rights defenders“, the military minister said, quoted by Radio Focus. “Illegal buildings are another problem. The ghettos are a Scots story. Kids beat in succession. That cannot go on any longer. The program has been prepared and it will be submitted for discussion to the Council of Ministers. There is no point in waiting and endure more”, Karakachanov continued.

How long will the state fund the promiscuous gypsy birth-rate? This population does not want to work, to study and, in practice, become a marginalized community that lives under its own laws. For a person who used to live for granted, the easiest job is to make children to receive benefits. They have no any stimulus to work, to improve”, said the Deputy Prime Minister.

Call for a financial manager


Call for financial manager – EXTENDED DEADLINE 15 JANUARY

ERGO Network is contracting a financial manager to be responsible for the accounting, tax system, right of the legal entity and human resources in the ERGO Network office in Brussels starting from 2019

ERGO Network

ERGO Network (www.ergonetwork.org) brings together 28 members from across Europe and supports organisations with a common perspective on Roma grassroots empowerment and equal citizenship to challenge stereotypes and combat stigmatization. We mobilize and connect organisations and individuals that share and express our values – active citizenship, shared responsibility, and passion – to strengthen and empower Roma civil society involvement in decision-making at local, national and European level and to address existing shortcomings of policies targeted at Roma.

ERGO Network is a Netherlands-based organisation – Stichting – with its branch based in Belgium.

Currently we are supported by DG Employment through a Partnership Framework Agreement and we are partners in several projects. Our annual budget is approximately 500.000 Euro.

Role of the expert

We are searching for a financial manager to be responsible for the accounting, tax system, right of the legal entity and human resources which cover the work of the organisation. ERGO Network runs an Annual Work Programme ‘Roma Included in Social Europe’ funded by DG Employment, is a partner in a project funded by DG Near under the IPA programme and a pilot project of the DG Justice, among others.

Specifically, the expert is expected to fulfil the following tasks:

Financial tasks:

  1. Bookkeeping outgoing and incoming invoices into the system (accountancy software) using  analytic departments
  2. Arranging payments by using ERGO’s two bank accounts (one Dutch and one Belgian)
  3. Preparing outgoing invoices to donors, members and other clients
  4. Quarterly reporting
  5. Financial reporting to donors
  6. Preparation of annual budget
  7. Financial forecasts (end of year forecast)
  8. Preparation of financial report and budget to the board
  9. Assisting project officer in preparation of budget and financial reports
  10. Liaising with the external auditors and accountants in the Netherlands
  11. Liaising with donors (EU Commission and Foundations)
  12. Fulfilling obligations for the Belgian VAT (franchise régime) and the Belgian tax administration

Human resources

  1. Liaising with the Belgian payroll company (Partena)
  2. Preparing contracts and identification “fiches” for new members of the staff
  3. Be the first contact point for staff for obligations/rights regarding Belgian labour law
  4. Liaising with the company responsible for medical checks (Mensura)
  5. Liaising with the staff insurance company
  6. Sending monthly staff presence report to the payroll company
  7. Order  luncheon vouchers on a monthly basis according to presence
  8. Collect staff timesheets
  9. Arrange for work permits when needed by staff from outside the EU


  • Excellent knowledge of financial management and legal background in Belgium
  • Good command of English
  • Ability to work independently and at the same time coordinate regularly with the ERGO team and the member organisations
  • Educated to Bachelor degree level or similar (e.g. accountancy, financial management or other relevant degree)


Contract and budget: The expert will be subcontracted to a role of financial manager in the ERGO Network Brussels based office.  The expert has no rights vis-à-vis the European Commission.

The expert shall be paid for the execution of the activities and services a fee of maximum 23,500 EUR, all taxes and VAT included.

Application procedure

Interested and qualified candidates should submit the following documents:

  • CV
  • Proposed operations and services

We will select the expert according to the principle “Value for money”. Please send your application to info@ergonetwork.org, indicating in the subject of the email “Application Financial Manager” by 15thd  January 2019, 23:59 CET.

A detailed organisation overview of financial and legal operations of ERGO Network can be provided upon request.

For further questions, please contact Gabriela Hrabanova (g.hrabanova@ergonetwork.org)

Annual Members Meeting Tirana, December 8 –12 2018

The ERGO Network 2018 Annual Members Meeting took place on 10-11 December in Tirana to consult members on the update of programmes and initiatives and to enable exchange of experiences and information. In addition the participants discussed the future of ERGO Network and a possible formalization as an association.

During the 1st day we updated the members about current and future projects and initiatives of ERGO Network and discussed advocacy priorities of ERGO members.

The 2nd day opened with a breakfast with Marta Garcia Fidalgo,adviser for the coordination of Roma policy at DG NEAR. The breakfast was followed by a video meeting with Soraya Post MEP, the new co-chair of ERGO Network.

Furthermore ERGO member Andras Nun from Autonomia Foundation introduced one of the highlights that we developed in 2018: the transparency and accountability criteria and a board game that supports civil society organisations to implement them. 

Then, after reminding ourselves of the 10-years history of ERGO Network and reflecting on the challenges and successes of the organisation, ERGO members discussed the future of the network and a possible formalization as an association under Belgian law.

Moreover they had the opportunity to join working groups that will support ERGO’s work in 2019.

The 2018 Annual Member Meeting ended with a birthday party. The staff of Roma Active Albania prepared an amazing night for the 10 years celebration of ERGO Network. We would like to thank them not only for the party, but for all their help in the preparation and implementation of the Annual Member Meeting!

ERGO’s Network Party

ERGO is looking for a volunteer

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Call for Solidarity Corps volunteer in ERGO Network

ERGO Network is looking for an enthusiastic and active young Roma who would like to join our office team in Brussels for 11 months in the framework of the European Solidarity Corps.

When: February to December 2019

Where: ERGO Network office in Brussels, Belgium

Who: Young Roma professional between 18 and 30

EXTENDED Deadline for applications: 13 January 2019

During the 11 months in ERGO, you will learn about international advocacy, help us organise international meetings and events and get actively involved in Roma activism and international Roma networks in Brussels.

Your main tasks will be:
  • Communication and visibility: contribute to the update of the ERGO Network and RomaReact websites and social media channels; development of creative approaches and publicity work to promote our activities and mission and a positive image of Roma.
  • Researching and reporting: Assisting ERGO’s research work e.g. on cases of inequality and antigypsyism all over Europe.
  • Advocacy and policy: Support ERGO staff in EU advocacy work on poverty reduction, social inclusion and antigypsyism; attend debates, hearings and meetings with other stakeholders to challenge stereotypes and racism, build partnership with Roma and non-Roma organisations from Belgium and other European countries.
  • Meetings and seminars: Assist in the organisation of meetings, events and international seminars of ERGO Network and its partners, e.g. our Advocacy Academy, Annual Members Meeting etc.
Your profile:
  • Young Roma between 18 and 30 living in an EU member state or in Macedonia or Turkey
  • Good English language skills, both oral and written
  • Computer literacy (experience with Microsoft office package and social media)
  • High motivation to learn more about Roma activism and advocacy work and to contribute to a small but very active European NGO
  • Previous involvement in Roma or (pro) Roma NGOs will be considered an advantage
  • Reliable, well organised and with attention to detail

You will work about 38 hours per week, including your language course. Working hours will be from Monday to Friday between 9:00 – 17:00. However, working hours can be adapted to your needs and the activities you will be involved in.

We aim to support young people who are enthusiastic about our cause and want to gain experiences that can be later transferred to national or local NGOs. We especially welcome applications from people who are motivated to challenge stereotypes, antigypsyism and racism and who show an open attitude for a unique learning and life experience, as well as a volunteer spirit of creativity, initiative, responsibility and independence.

We offer:
  • An allowance of 1049 Euro that includes money for accommodation, meals, local transport, language course and pocket money
  • Travel costs to Brussels (a lump sum depending on the distance to Brussels)
  • Complementary health insurance
  • On-arrival training with other Solidarity Corps volunteers, and lots of learning and development opportunities with ERGO Network and our partners
  • An exciting and unforgettable experience, working for an international organisation in an international city!
How to apply:

Please send your motivation letter (1 page) and CV (max 2 pages) latest by 13th January 2019 to info@ergonetwork.org.

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information.

You can download the call for applications here.

Christine Sudbrock t: +32 2 89 31 045 | e: info@ergonetwork.org