Sofia. The Bulgarian National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Integration Issues with 
the Council of Ministers marked the International Roma Day by holding an open meeting on Monday.
However, the event was marred by a scandal,which was widely reported by Bulgarian media. 15 Roma organisations, discontent with the inefficiency of the council, left it and demanded that it should be reformed. The event was open to the media for the first time and Sega daily speculates this might have been the reason for the scandal. Interim Prime Minister Marin Raykov opened the meeting stressing on the importance of the council. He admitted that there were problems and that theRoma minority was the most vulnerable during the social crisis. He pointed out the Roma problem was not only a Bulgarian issue, but a European one and stressed that racism and intolerance were phenomena unrelated to Bulgarian national tradition. He criticised the buying of Roma votes and supported theidea of a bigger representation of the Roma minority in all state institutions. Duma daily adds that Roma associations demanded that nationalist parties Ataka and IMRO should be brought to court for incitement of ethnic hatred. Duma daily quoted leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party Sergey Stanishev, who said that Roma integration had no alternative. Darik Radio quotes a member of a Roma organisation, who accused the government of spending no money whatsoever on Roma integration. He asked where had the EUR 70 million Bulgaria had received from pre-