Madalina Turza, state adviser with the Chancellery of the Romanian Prime Minister, says that the European Union member states should work together “more efficiently and dynamically” to manage the integration of Ukrainian refugees, so that they become independent and part of the host community.
She presented on Friday at the Government House the conclusions of the debates at “The Bucharest Forum – Towards a Common European Platform for Refugee Inclusion,” organised by the Romanian government at Parliament Palace to mark the creation of the first high-level dialogue platform in Europe in the area of integration of Ukraine at Romania’s initiative.
The meeting was attended by 23 European Union member states, officials of the General Directorate DG HOME of the European Commission, a delegation of DG REFORM, representatives of Norway, the UK, and Moldova.
“At the end of a seven-month course of managing the refugee crisis in Romania, a management which is perceived as a model of good practice at the level of the European Union, Romania took the leadership in Europe and invited the member states and not only to get around a dialogue platform at the political level about the integration of refugees,” says Turza.
Long-term effects of the war in Ukraine and the large flow of Ukrainian refugees – over 6 million people – living both in Romania and in most of Europe call for such an approach.
“Member states need to work together more efficiently and dynamically, and why not more transparently, to manage their integration and subsequent return to Ukraine, when appropriate. We have all understood (… ) that emergency support is only a stage and that at this moment emergency response measures such as food, shelter at border crossing points or minimal support services are no longer sufficient. There is a need for refugees from Ukraine to become independent in Romania and in the other member states of the European Union, to work; their children should be able to go to school and become part of our community for as long as they decide to stay in Romania and in the other European states,” she argued.
Turza said that the role of the dialogue group initiated by Romania is to inform and convince the European governments to adopt “quick and effective” measures, as a “difficult winter” is coming.
She added that, following the discussions, a series of common challenges related to this humanitarian crisis were identified, with the first of them being that of long-term housing.
Challenges were also raised regarding how Ukrainian refugees are encouraged to find jobs and want to work, as well as the support needed by local communities hosting these refugees.
She also mentioned disinformation and “messages that distort reality”.
As a conclusion to what was presented, the member states in attendance “almost unanimously” voiced support for the establishment of the platform proposed by Romania, together with officials of the European Commission, OECD, Norway and Moldova, and the activity in this group of informal working dialogue will continue at the level of state secretaries or ministers, and proposals for the organisation of the next meetings came from Austria, Malta and even the OECD.