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Project on Ethnic Relations PER Logo

Spring/Summer 1997, Bulletin #12

New Grants From The Hewlett Foundation and The Council Of Europe

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation of Menlo Park, California, has madea major grant to the Project on Ethnic Relations. The two-year unrestrictedgrant will enable PER to continue and enlarge its programs of mediation andrelated activities.

In Strasbourg, France, The Council of Europe announced that itsConfidence-Building Measures Programme has made two grants to support thework of the Project on Ethnic Relations. PER becomes the only Americanorganization to receive Council of Europe funding.

The first Council of Europe grant, made through PER's office in Bucharest,Romania, funds workshops for Romanian opinion leaders on the subject ofdemocracy and the depiction of ethnic minorities, especially Roma (Gypsies)in the media.

The second grant, for a project to be carried out through PER's office inSofia, Bulgaria, will help to launch a series of regional meetings for theyoung generation of politicians, public opinion-makers, and ethnic andreligious minority leaders from the Balkans.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Council of Europe are thenewest supporters of PER, joining the Carnegie Corporation of New York, theStarr Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Philip D. ReedFoundation.

Leaders Weigh Ethnic Impact on Regional Politics

How do interethnic relations in one country affect the domestic politics ofneighbors and of other countries in the region? How is the balance ofrelations within the region being shaped by changing national policies andpractices concerning ethnic issues and the behavior of ethnic leaders? Canthe countries of the region cooperate on ethnic issues to promote regionalstability? How do these problems relate to Euro-Atlantic institutions andinitiatives?

These were the main questions under discussion at a private,not-for-attribution meeting of political leaders from governing andopposition parties chaired by PER president Allen Kassof at Baden, Austriaon February 21-23. Participants were Jan Carnogursky, Chairman,Christian-Democratic Movement and former Prime Minister of the SlovakRepublic; Ion Dediu, Member of Parliament, Republic of Moldova; IlijaDjukic, Chair, Foreign Relations Committee, Democratic Party, Serbia; TudorDunca, Member of Foreign Relations Committee of the Chamber of Deputies,Romanian Parliament; Yevhen Marchuk, Member of Parliament, former PrimeMinister, Ukraine; Zsolt Nemeth, Member of Parliament, Vice-President,FIDESZ-Hungarian Civic Party; Livia Plaks, PER Executive Director, PetreRoman, President of the Romanian Senate; Dusan Slobodnik, Chair, Committeeon Foreign Affairs, National Council of the Slovak Republic; IstvanSzent-Ivanyi, State Secretary for Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs ofHungary; Csaba Tabajdi, State Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister,Government of Hungary; and Gyorgy Tokay, Minister, Department for theProtection of National Minorities, Government of Romania.

Observers included Ralph Johnson, Ambassador of the United States to theSlovak Republic, representing the Department of State; Geoffrey Harris, Headof Secretariat for the Joint Parliamentary Committees of the EuropeanParliament; and Herbert Boesch of Austria, member of the European Parliamentand Chairman of the Joint Committee of the European and Slovak Parliaments.Heinz Fischer, President of the Austrian Parliament, also addressed thegroup.

One of the liveliest debates concerned the significance for other countriesin the region, especially Slovakia, of the abrupt change in Romanian policytowards the Hungarian minority of that country and the development of a newpartnership between Bucharest and Budapest, both resulting from the electionof a new Romanian president and parliament and the inclusion of Romania'sethnic Hungarian party in the new governing coalition. Other subjectsincluded Russian-Ukrainian relations, a report on the situation in Serbia,and concerns over who would be admitted in the upcoming NATO enlargementround.

Finally, there was a discussion concerning the plight of the Romani (Gypsy)population in all the countries represented at the meeting. All acknowledgedthat they were dealing with a difficult and potentially explosive issue andthat solutions would have to be found.

Serbs, Albanians Set Scene For Kosovo Talks

In a potential step forward for the Balkans, Serb and Kosovar Albanianleaders have agreed on basic terms for future negotiations over the statusof Kosovo. Meeting in New York City at a PER roundtable held at the CarnegieCorporation of New York on April 7-9, leaders of parliamentary parties fromSerbia and the Kosovar Albanian political parties issued a memorandum onjointly agreed positions concerning future negotiations, as well as aconcluding statement about their deliberations (see below for texts). Bothsides recognized Kosovo as a serious problem requiring an urgent solutionand called for a dialogue without preconditions. Senior State Departmentofficials and U.S. experts on Serbia also took part in the discussions.

Kosovo, a region of Serbia where the population is now ninety per centethnic Albanian, is the subject of a dangerous confrontation between Serbs,who see Kosovo only as a part of Serbia, and Albanians who are calling forethnically based sovereignty and independence. For both peoples Kosovo hasdeep historic and symbolic significance. The Kosovo dispute threatens totrigger a wider war in the Balkans that would involve neighboring Macedonia,which also has a large Albanian minority, as well as Albania, Bulgaria,Greece, and Turkey, all of which would seek to assert their interests.

In June 1995, the Project on Ethnic Relations, together with partners fromYugoslavia, co-sponsored a major roundtable in Belgrade to discussinterethnic relations in Yugoslavia, bringing together leading experts andpolitical figures from Yugoslavia as well as from western countries. Themeeting marked the first public discussions between representatives of theruling Socialist Party of Serbia and leaders of the Kosovar Albanians. Bothsides asked PER to arrange for further talks, and agreed that they should beheld in New York City.

The follow-up meeting, originally scheduled for December 1996, was postponedbecause of the serious anti-government demonstrations in Belgrade and othercities, but was finally convened in April 1997. To the regret of allparticipants, the Socialist Party of Serbia, which had previously committedto attend, withdrew at the last minute although its junior coalitionpartner, the New Democracy Party, was represented by its president.

The participants called for a continuation of their discussions and agreedthat the assistance of the international community would be needed in movingthe dialogue forward. PER is considering a further round of discussions, inYugoslavia.

The participants included, from Belgrade: Vuk Draskovic, President, SerbianRenewal Movement; Dusan Janjic, Coordinator, Forum for Ethnic Relations;Miroljub Labus, Vice-President, Democratic Party; Dragoljub Micunovic,President, Party of Democratic Center; Dusan Mihajlovic, President, NewDemocracy Party; Vesna Pesic, President, Civic Alliance of Serbia; fromPrishtina: Fehmi Agani, Vice-President, Democratic League of Kosovo; MahmutBakalli, former political leader of Kosovo; Adem Demaci, President,Parliamentary Party of Kosovo; Hydajet Hyseni, Vice-President, DemocraticLeague of Kosovo; Abdullah Karjagdiu, Vice-President, Parliamentary Party ofKosovo; Mark Krasniqi, Chairman, Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo; VetonSurroi, Editor-in-Chief, Koha. American observers were Steven Burg,Professor, Brandeis University; Aleksey Grigor'ev, Program Officer, Projecton Ethnic Relations; David Hamburg, President, Carnegie Corporation of NewYork; Robert Hayden, Professor, University of Pittsburgh; Allen Kassof,President, Project on Ethnic Relations (chairing the roundtable); JeanetteMansour, Program Officer, The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; Matt Palmer,Country Director for Serbia/Montenegro, US State Department; Rudolf Perina,Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs; David L.Phillips, Director, Project on the South Balkans, Council on ForeignRelations, Center for Preventive Action; Livia Plaks, Executive Director,Project on Ethnic Relations; Barnett Rubin, Director, Center for PreventiveAction, Council on Foreign Relations; John Scanlan, former US Ambassador toYugoslavia; Member, PER Council for Ethnic Accord; David Speedie, ProgramChair, Program on Preventing Deadly Conflict, Carnegie Corporation of NewYork; Jim Swigert, Director, Southeast European Affairs, US StateDepartment; William Whitman, special adviser to Cyrus Vance.

Serb-Albanian Kosovo Roundtable

New York City
April 7-9, 1997


On April 7-9 1997, leading Serbian and Kosovar Albanian political figuresmet in New York City to continue the roundtable discussions of Serb-Albanianrelations and the issues of mutual concern over Kosovo.

The participants included, from Belgrade: Vuk Draskovic, President, SerbianRenewal Movement; Dusan Janjic, Coordinator, Forum for Ethnic Relations;Miroljub Labus, Vice-President, Democratic Party; Dragoljub Micunovic,President, Party of Democratic Center; Dusan Mihajlovic, President, NewDemocracy Party; Vesna Pesic, President, Civic Alliance of Serbia; fromPrishtina: Fehmi Agani, Vice-President, Democratic League of Kosovo; MahmutBakalli, former political leader of Kosovo; Adem Demaci, President,Parliamentary Party of Kosovo; Hydajet Hyseni, Vice-President, DemocraticLeague of Kosovo; Abdullah Karjagdiu, Vice-President, Parliamentary Party ofKosovo; Mark Krasniqi, Chairman, Christian Democratic Party of Kosovo; VetonSurroi, Editor-in-Chief, Koha. Representatives of the Socialist Party ofSerbia were invited, but did not attend.

The first roundtable "Democratic Processes and Ethnic Relations inYugoslavia" was held in Belgrade in June 1995. At that meeting the SocialistParty of Serbia proposed to begin serious discussions towards seeking asolution to the problems in Serb-Albanian relations. The most importantresult of the first roundtable was the support of this initiative by theDemocratic League of Kosovo.

A number of political events in Serbia/Yugoslavia delayed the resumption ofthe discussions. Finally the participants agreed to convene the secondroundtable early in 1997, this time in New York City. The meeting wassponsored by the Project on Ethnic Relations.

The participants engaged in intensive discussions and exchange of views.Several common points emerged at the meeting.

The participants agreed to meet on a regular basis, and plan to reconvenethe roundtable as soon as possible in Belgrade, Prishtina, and othersuitable locations. The next session will be organized by the Project onEthnic Relations (USA) in cooperation with the Forum for Ethnic Relationsand the Democratic Center Foundation (Yugoslavia).

Accepting the fact that this is a difficult process, the participants urgethat a step-by-step approach aimed at facilitating the beginnings ofpolitical negotiations on the full range of issues be initiated withoutfurther delay. Participants realize their responsibility for the future ofthe Balkans, Yugoslavia, and Kosovo. The participants reconfirm theircommitment to the peaceful resolution of all disputes.

The Socialist Party, as the current ruling party in Serbia, has a specialresponsibility for promoting the democratic and peaceful resolution ofproblems in Kosovo. Therefore, the participants urge the Socialist Party ofSerbia, which participated in the first roundtable and suggested that therebe a second one, to participate in the future work of the roundtable.

The only possible framework for discussions of such issues must bedemocratization, mutual respect between the sides, respect for human rights,both individual and collective, and promotion of regional stability.

The participants are grateful to the Project on Ethnic Relations and otherAmerican institutions for their continuing support in promoting dialogue onthis issue and democratization in the region, and hope for similar supportfrom European institutions and organizations. However, all parties recognizethat solutions must be reached by the Serbian and Kosovar Albanian politicalactors themselves.


  1. Kosovo constitutes a serious problem that requires an urgent solution.Without international encouragement and assistance the current lack ofconfidence between the sides cannot be overcome or a lasting settlementreached.
  2. The problem can only be resolved by mutual accord reached throughdialogue that is entered into with no preconditions or prejudgment ofpossible outcomes.
  3. The agreement must be based on the principles of democratization, mutualrespect between the sides, respect for human rights, both individual andcollective, and promotion of regional stability through respect for Helsinkiprinciples concerning borders. An interim solution requires a democraticKosovo and a democratic Serbia.

Russians, Europeans, Americans Debate NATO Enlargement and Future Relations

The future shape of relations among Russia, former Warsaw Pact members, andnewly independent former Soviet republics (Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia,Lithuania) and between them and Western Europe and the United States was thesubject of intensive discussions at a PER meeting in Warsaw, Poland on May16-18.

The event was the third in a series designed to help political leaders anddecision-makers to understand the perspectives of other countries in thechanging regional and international environment. Two earlier meetings, inMoscow in 1995 and 1996, took up the question of how ethnic and nationalrivalries affect regional security, and considered means and prospects forrestoring communications between Russia and her former allies.

Participants at those meetings agreed that, after the break-up, Russia andother countries in the region had tended to ignore each other as theyoriented themselves towards the West. However, there was no consensus on howto restore relations. The Russians argued that NATO enlargement willexacerbate or confirm the exclusion of Russia from Europe and will endangerRussian security and the development of Russia's fragile democracy, whilethe others insisted that the expansion of Euro-Atlantic institutions willprovide the best guarantee for a stable continent.

The Warsaw meeting coincided with the announcement of the NATO-RussianFounding Act. Despite this, the gap between the Russians and the otherparticipants remained undiminished, and participants agreed that continuingefforts will be required if there is to be any hope of developing a commonunderstanding.

Participants in the meeting, which was organized with the assistance of theEuro-Atlantic Association and the Center for International Relations at theInstitute of Public Affairs in Warsaw, were, from the Czech Republic, IvanGabal, former Head, Department of Political Analysis, Office of thePresident, and Karel Stindl, Ambassador to Poland; from Estonia, PeeterRestsinski, Ambassador to Poland; from the European Union, Thomas Grunert,Senior Official, European Parliament; from Hungary: Istvan Szent-Ivanyi,Leader of Parliamentary Caucus, Alliance of Free Democrats; from Latvia,Uvis Blums, Second Secretary, Embassy in Poland; from Lithuania, KestutisJankauskas, Deputy Head, Multilateral Relations Division, Ministry ofForeign Affairs; from NATO, Andrew Dolan, National Expert, NATO and theEuropean Commission; from Poland, Bronislaw Geremek, Member of Parliamentand member, PER Council for Ethnic Accord, Janusz Onyszkiewicz, Member ofParliament, former Defense Minister and Chairman, Euro-Atlantic Council,Janusz Reiter, former Ambassador to Germany and Chairman, Center onInternational Affairs, Piotr Switalski, former Senior Diplomatic Advisor tothe OSCE Secretary General and Director of the OSCE Department forChairman-in-Office Support, Department of the System of the United Nations,Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Henryk Szlajfer, Director, Department ofStudies and Analysis, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; from Romania, ConstantinDudu Ionescu, Secretary of State and Chief of Defense Policy andInternational Relations, Ministry of Defense and Dorin Marian, Counselor forNational Security, Office of the Presidency; from Russia, Vladimir Averchev,Member, State Duma, Boris Makarenko, Deputy Director, Center for PoliticalTechnologies and Consultant, Project on Ethnic Relations, Alexei Salmin,Member, Presidential Advisory Council and President, Russian Public PolicyCenter, and Mark Urnov, Presidential Adviser; from Slovakia, Juraj Migas,Director General, Political Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, andMiroslav Wlachovsky, Director of Research Center, Slovak Foreign PolicyAssociation; from Slovenia, Anton Bebler, Ambassador to the UN Offices inGeneva; from Ukraine, Yevhen Marchuk, Member of Parliament, former PrimeMinister; from the United States, Marshall Adair, Deputy Assistant Secretaryof State for European and Canadian Affairs, Stephen Mull, Political Officer,U.S. Embassy in Poland, Cameron Munter, Chief of Staff, NATO EnlargementRatification Office, Department of State, and Thomas Szayna, Analyst,International Studies Group, RAND. PER was represented by Allen Kassof,President, Livia Plaks, Executive Director, and Aleksey Grigor'ev, ProgramOfficer.

Slovak and Hungarian Editors Renew Ties

Senior editors from the leading dailies in Slovakia and Hungary participatedin a meeting sponsored by PER in Bratislava on March 1, 1997, renewingdiscussions that were held in Budapest last year. They concluded that themajority of Slovak and Hungarian print media had played a positive role increating an atmosphere of tolerance. In fact, said the participants,communication among journalists is much easier than among politicians, andthey suggested that the main sources of interethnic tensions come frompoliticians rather than from the population or from the media.

The participants discussed various issues, including freedom of the press,economic survival, editorial control, professionalism, markets and marketingtactics, the media and the democratic process, responsibility of the pressin building a democratic society, relations with minorities, and theprospects of Hungary and Slovakia in Euro-Atlantic integration.

The participants from Slovakia were: Julius Lorincz, deputy editor-in-chiefof Pravda; Karol Jezik, editor-in-chief of Sme; Eduard Fasung,editor-in-chief of Slovenska Republika; Jozsef Szilvassy, editor-in-chief ofUj Szo; Juraj Alner, editor of Narodna Obroda; Martin Skopec, editor of SmerDnes. From Hungary: Laszlo Dalia, deputy editor-in-chief of Magyar Hirlap;Istvan Wintermantel, deputy editor-in-chief of Magyar Nemzet; Andrej Kiss,editor of Nepszava; Laszlo Hovanyecz, editor of Nepszabadsag.

Tirgu Mures: Interethnic Confidence-Building Measures In Local Administration

Marking seven years since the violent ethnic confrontations in Romaniabetween Romanian and Hungarian inhabitants of Tirgu Mures and surroundingvillages, PER organized a seminar on the implementation of new laws andregulations intended to ease ethnic tensions by giving broad decision-makingpowers to localities.

At the sessions on May 31-June 1, chaired by Executive Director Livia Plaksand Dan Pavel, head of PER's Bucharest office, Dragos Tanasoiu and MirelaDragulin of the government's Local Administration Department in Bucharestannounced the latest details of the brand new laws, which involve asignificant move towards decentralization. Other senior government officialsjoined regional and local authorities in discussions on how the new laws areto be implemented.

The main interest was in how the novel provisions for bilingualism ineducational, legal, and administrative settings could be carried out, whileprotecting the rights and interests of both Hungarian and Romanian speakers,and what practical measures will be required for translation andinterpretation. Participants also debated the unresolved question of how toorganize Hungarian-language higher education, and whether this should bedone within present university structures or in a new and separateinstitution. Andor Horvath of the Bolyai Association argued for anautonomous Hungarian speaking part of the Babes-Bolyai University. One ofthe most animated debates involved county prefects and presidents of localcouncils on the issue of restructuring interethnic relations in the countiesof Harghita and Covasna, where Hungarians constitute the majority and theRomanians the minority, and on how the new legislation would affectrelations among elected and appointed officials, and between Bucharest andlocal administrations and councils. The role of the media and interethnicrelations was also discussed.

Gyorgy Tokay, Minister, Department for the Protection of NationalMinorities, and cabinet member Constantin Dudu Ionescu, Secretary of Stateat the Ministry of National Defense, presented their views on the differentresponsibilities of officials in the central government and regionaladministration, and on the regional and international impact of recentagreements reached between Romanian and Hungarian governments.

All of the participants agreed that the new provisions move Romania closerto European standards. However, they noted that their effectiveimplementation will require a particular effort, and thatconfidence-building measures will be needed.

The seminar was organized by Maria Koreck, head of PER's Tirgu Mures office.Allen Kassof, PER's President, also participated.

Police Training Continues in Romania

PER is continuing its collaboration on police training in Romania with theSouthern Police Institute of the University of Louisville (Kentucky). InJanuary, a management seminar for senior law-enforcement officials focusedon relations between the police and ethnic minorities, especially the Roma.A follow-up in May assessed the needs of the Romanian police in managingethnic relations, and in June a team of Romanian police completed a two-weekseminar in Louisville. The principal Romanian partner in these activities isthe Crime Prevention Service of the Ministry of the Interior. The Council ofEurope has also joined the PER-SPI effort, with two of its policespecialists participating in the Romanian programs.

PER Staff News

In Bucharest, Romania, Dan Pavel has been appointed to head the PER officethere. Mr. Pavel is a political scientist, and has served on the facultiesof the University of Cluj and the University of Bucharest. He is also thefounding editor of 22 and Sfera Politicii;.


PER, The Council Of Europe, and ODIHR/OSCE Mount Joint Projects

In February, PER's Executive Director Livia Plaks participated in thesession of the Council of Europe Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies, whichtook place in Strasbourg. The agenda covered human rights problems faced byRoma as well as issues related to education and culture and ways ofimproving the economic and employment situation of the Roma.

Together with Andrzej Mirga, Chair of PER's Romani Advisory Council, whoalso co-chairs the Council of Europe Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies, Plaksconferred with John Murray, the Council of Europe's Coordinator foractivities on Roma/Gypsies, his staff, and with Jacek Paliszewski,ODIHR/OSCE Adviser, and agreed on joint projects on Romani issues in 1997.

Training young Romani leaders in Bulgaria

Responding to a request from the United Roma Union of Sliven and its leader,Vasili Chaprazov, PER's Sofia office organized a five-day training seminarin Gioletchitza (in the Rila mountains) for twenty four young Romani leadersfrom four organizations from around Bulgaria. The seminar, which took placefrom May 25-30, explored questions of the Roma and the media, relations withlocal authorities, employment issues, basic principles of administrativelaw, the Romani movement, the Roma and international organizations, basicprinciples of labor law, and how to apply for funding.

The high-level training team included a journalist from Radio Free Europe,the Dean of the Law Department of Sofia University, the Head of Chancelleryof the Government of Bulgaria, the Director of the Agency for Foreign Aid,and experts on Romani culture. The chairman of the PER Romani AdvisoryCouncil, Andrzej Mirga, Dr. Ivan Ilchev, PER's consultant in Bulgaria, andPER's executive director, Livia Plaks, joined the trainers.

Prevention Of Violence And Discrimination Against Roma

Violence and discrimination are two long-standing threats to the Romanicommunity in Central and Eastern Europe. On March 21-23, a workshop onPrevention of Violence and Discrimination against Roma in Central andEastern Europe was jointly organized by PER, the OSCE Office for DemocraticInstitutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and the Romanian governmentDepartment for the Protection of National Minorities, with the cooperationof Rromani CRISS.

The workshop reviewed and assessed efforts undertaken so far, and took upboth civil society approaches and legal and administrative mechanisms in theprevention of violence and discrimination against Roma.

Workshop participants included representatives of inter-governmentalinstitutions, public authorities, Roma, and NGO activists from Romania,Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland and Yugoslavia.

Participants stressed that comprehensive, integrated strategies are needed,beginning with a clear political determination on the part of Central andEast European governments. Effective strategies must include legal andprocedural reforms, increased schooling and employment among Roma, andcampaigns to alter public attitudes toward Roma. Preventive measures mustinvolve the police, judiciary, local and central authorities, Romaniorganizations, and the media.

Among the participants were Gyorgy Tokay, Minister, Department for theProtection of National Minorities, Government of Romania, Jacek Paliszewski,OSCE/ODIHR Adviser, and John Murray, the Council of Europe's Coordinator foractivities on Roma/Gypsies.

Romani Self-Government in Hungary: Experience and Prospects

Hungary has been a pioneer in offering some measure of self-government toethnic minorities, including the Roma, in a program that has been in placefor almost two years. How well does the system work?

In a workshop co-sponsored by PER and the Council of Europe (Budapest, May9-11), Romani self-government was reviewed by representatives of the Projecton Ethnic Relations, the Council of Europe, the National GypsySelf-Government in Hungary, and the Office of the National and EthnicMinorities of the Government of Hungary, as well as Romani and non-Romaniofficials, experts, and practitioners from Hungary and other countries.

Discussions centered on the principles and legal framework for theself-government system in Hungary; accomplishments and shortcomings of thesystem; level of acceptance of the system; and co-operation among nationaland local Romani self-governments, the Hungarian national government, localauthorities, and Romani non-governmental organizations.

Roma constitute the largest minority in Hungary, about seven percent of thecountry's population. Minority self-governance is based on the Law on theRights of National and Ethnic Minorities, adopted by the Hungarian NationalAssembly in July 1993. After the by-elections of November 1995, 451 Romanilocal self-governments (and 341 for other ethnic minorities) were created.The Romani national self-government was set up at the same time as nationalself-governments for other minorities, in April 1995.

Romani national self-government officials expressed the hope that that theirnew experience will finally enable the Romani minority to control its owndestiny. The adoption and implementation of the Act, they say, help the Romain Hungary to be perceived as a minority with an identity and a culture ofits own rather than as a social problem.

State Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office, Csaba Tabajdi, and othergovernmental representatives, as well as Florian Farkas, the President ofthe Gypsy National Self-Government, noted that much remains to be done inimplementing the Act.

Participants went on a field trip to a Romani local self-government inNograd county to familiarize themselves with working relationships betweenthe local self-government, the Romani self-government, and otherauthorities.