The massive flow of refugees and the way to manage it are the biggest challenges facing the EU since it was set up.
Many have expressed their opinion on the refugee issue. It seems that Romanians have nothing against some of the refugees coming to Romania but they don’t want to integrate them into the society or live together with them. This is the conclusion of a survey entitled “Romanians’ perception of the refugee crisis” recently conducted by the Pro Democratia Association.
Iuliana Iliescu, a project manager within the Association has more: “Most of the people get information on the refugee crisis from the social media. Almost 55% say that they get their information from social media networks while 29% from TV and radio programs. To a great extent, they are concerned about this situation because of the negative feedback given on these networks. As regards the number of refugees who are in Romania, and I’m referring to those who came after 2015, most interviewees consider that there are more than 300 refugees in our country, accounting for 35%. As far as we know, only 15 refugees have come to Romania so far. As regards the question whether they agree or not with the presence of refugees, there is a balance between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers. 54% said no and 46% said yes. However, there is a big discrepancy related to Romanians’ accepting in their families or at work a European citizen or a refugee. As regards refugees, 26.5% of Romanians prefer them to be just visitors. Given the situation in Syria and not only, 18% of interviewees, which is a worryingly big number, say they would oust the refugees, as compared to 2.5% who would oust a European citizen of a different nationality”.
Nevertheless, when it comes to the refugees’ children, Romanians are more lenient, most of them accepting the idea of their sons and daughters having as colleagues the children of the refugees. What is worrying is that fact that over 40% of interviewees consider that the refugees should be placed in special camps, and not in the urban or rural environments as would be normal for integration, Iuliana Iliescu warns.
Another survey run by INSCOP Research shows that more than 80% of Romanians do not agree with the refugees/ immigrants settling in Romania. This month the European Parliament Information Office in Romania and the Pro Democratia Association organized an event devoted to the refugee crisis. Claudiu Craciun, an expert within the Pro Democratia Association, talked about the fact that, in the past, Romanians had positive experiences with the refugees coming from Greece, Turkey and the Middle East countries. According to Claudiu Craciun, there is no great reluctance at a personal level, and that the apocalyptic image of the influx of refugees was created by some politicians, institutions and by the media.
Attending the debate, Eleodor Pirvu, deputy director with the Romanian Foreign Ministry’s General Inspectorate for Immigration, has resumed the idea that the migration phenomenon has been present in Romania for a long time.
Pirvu told us about the Romanian legislation in the field: “The asylum, migration and integration system was not set up right after the 1989 Revolution, but important steps were taken after that moment, in 1991, when the country signed the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. A series of laws were passed later, making possible the implementation of policies in the field, culminating with the current legislation and system regarding asylum, migration and integration, in keeping with European norms. The European directives on qualification, procedure and reception conditions as well as the Dublin Regulation and the Eurodac Regulation have been included in the Romanian legislation.”
According to Eleodor Pirvu, over the past few years the average number of asylum applications by third countries’ citizens has stood at 1,200-1,300. We have an institution that coordinates six reception centers that can accommodate 950 asylum seekers. All asylum applications are processed in only 30 days, this being the shortest asylum application procedure in Europe.
Eleodor Pirvu: “All asylum seekers are checked and registered in our data base and applications are processed in keeping with the standards in the field by well-trained personnel. People who are denied asylum can appeal the decision in Court. The people who are accepted are granted a form of protection, the status of refugee or subsidiary protection, and can take part in the integration process, which is not compulsory at the moment. Certain conditions have been recently introduced in the asylum law, which must be met in order to be granted the non-repayable aid the Romanian state offers for 12 months, time in which refugees are involved in various integration activities."