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March 21, 2023

Gov’t announces monthly meetings with civil society within Coalition for the Integration of Refugees

The dialogue between the government and the civil society on the integration of migrants will continue on a monthly basis within the National Coalition for the Integration of Refugees, which has the objective to perfect the institutional and legislative framework in the field.

According to a government statement issued to Agerpres on Friday, the decision was taken at the initiative of PM Victor Ponta, at a Friday meeting alongside several ministers with representatives of the civil society on the national management of the current flow of refugees to Europe.

“The coalition will bring together state authorities and NGOs interested and willing to participate in efforts to integrate refugees. We have decided to create a secretariat of the Coalition and we have named those responsible for the main directions of activity: initial logistics, healthcare assistance, schooling, legislative adaptation, medium and long-term integration, public information. The first meeting of the Coalition for the Integration of Refugees, with a well-defined agenda, will take place in the last week of October”, the government informed.

The representatives of the civil society with experience in the field “reported the main shortcomings in the integration of refugees and advanced concrete proposals to overcome them”.

“One of the conclusions of the meetings is that we are not facing a crisis, but an opportunity to create a functional system for the integration of refugees, both short-term and for the future”, the government statement reads.

PM Ponta on refugee crisis: If we want to succeed, we have to cooperate with the civil society

Prime Minister Victor Ponta on Friday asked the NGOs and civil society for support to integrate the refugees that might come to Romania.

“I do not think the authorities alone can do much about the integration of persons with the Romanian society in the short, medium or long term. (…) The authorities alone cannot do it with the means they have. (…) We are talking about children first of all who have unanimously internationally recognized rights, and I mean here the rights to education, healthcare and it is also about finding jobs because otherwise the society will say: are we paying for others? (…) It is about preparing the local communities wherever such situations may emerge so that we no longer behave as we did thousands of years ago when we would panic that some would come and we would have to flee. (…) If we want to succeed, we have to cooperate. (…) We know how to secure the borders, to create accommodation facilities, but we cannot do more than that unless together with the civil society,” Ponta told civil society leaders at a meeting on refugee at the Government House.

Ponta insisted that solutions have to be found in the case of children, underscoring that the part of the NGOs in such instances is very important.

“Because officials of UNICEF and Save the Children are here, the first thing I believe we have to have is solutions today or tomorrow for children. So that we may know what to do, because adults can manage alone. The part of the NGOs operating in Romania is very important and you can be much more efficient than the Romanian Government alone can be,” added Ponta.

The meeting was held at the request of the civil society, which last week called on the Romanian authorities to reconsider their attitude toward refugees.

Among the attending NGOs were the Pro Democracy Association, the Foundation for the Development of the Civil Society, Save the Children Romania, the Community of Romania’s Syrians and the Association of Turkish Business People.

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