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Romania: the role of local stakeholders in migrants’ integration

On 3 October 2019, representatives of public authorities, local and central, and of civil society organizations, as well as other specialists and practitioners, gathered in Bucharest to debate the role of local authorities and multi-stakeholders cooperation at local level for the management of migration, and for the successful inclusion of migrants and refugees.

The half-day public event was co-organized in the framework of two EU-funded projects: NIEM – National Evaluation Integration Mechanism and Snapshots from the Borders. The Romanian partners of the two transnational projects, Center for Public Innovation and Novapolis Association, respectively, are members of the national coalition established in the NIEM project, the Coalition for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees (CDMiR – Coaliția pentru Drepturile Migranților și Refugiaților). 
The event become a special type of national coalition meeting, one that was open to the public. Two other organizations (AIDRom and Migrant Integration Center Brasov) and one supporting organization (UNHCR, Bucharest Office) were speakers of the event, and other members participated in the debate. 

During the event, the representatives of the local authorities from the Timis County (Western Romania, at the border with Serbia and Hungary), and the local office of AIDRom (NGO) presented the positive practice of establishing joint local teams responsible with mentoring beneficiary of international protection with their tailored integration programs. Because of its location, Timis County is the most important entry-point of refugees and asylum-seekers in Romania. The local team practice is greatly improving the impact of the local integration projects, supported by UNHCR and the General Inspectorate for Immigration. 

This positive practice was documented and it will be scaled at national level. Amendments to the law on integration of foreigners, pending in the Parliament, will offer the legal framework, and secondary legislation is under preparation. CDMiR has actively participated to the public debate surrounding the new legislation, and it is already submitted recommendations on the secondary norms. The suggestions to both primary and secondary legislation were based on the findings of the NIEM Tool, the baseline and the preliminary findings of the first evaluation cycle.
From local to national level, the whole process is showing how good cooperation between NGOs and the government, and the input from the research, is contributing to the improvement of legislation and practices of migrants’ integration.