2nd Septembrie 2019
During 26th to 31st of August, 2019, the Municipality of Constanta and Novapolis Association have hosted the delegation of the Municipality of Rhodes, Greece, for a visit to exchange experience and good practices regarding reception and inclusion of migrants and refugees. The exchange visit took place within the project “Snapshots from the borders – Small towns facing the challenges of Agenda 2030”that aims to increase the capacity of local public authorities especially from border cities and towns in the efficient management of migration and integration of migrants and refugees in the local community. In this context, a series of activities and meetings with different relevant stakeholders have been organized in Constanta and Bucharest. The Municipality of Rhodes was represented by Ms Christina Karagianni and Mr Vassilis Moraitis, from the Directorate of Social Policies and Health of the municipality.
On Tuesday 27.08.2019, the delegation of the Municipality of Rhodes had a meeting with the Vice Mayor of Constanta Municipality, Mr Costin Rasauteanu and Ms Viorica Ani Merla, Director of the Department of Programs and European Funds. The discussions focused on the role and initiatives of the Municipality of Constanta as well as cooperation with other local public institutions concerning migrants and refugees considering the situation of migration at local level and that the city is located in a region with long history and tradition of diversity and minorities leaving together in harmony.
On the following day, 28th of August 2019, the delegation of Rhodes Municipality participated to a simulation exercise on the Black Sea organized by the Coast Guard of the Romanian Border Police regarding the management of a crisis situation generated by an influx of immigrants on the maritime border. Several relevant public institutions that took part at the simulation exercise are as follows: the General Inspectorate for Immigration, „Dobrogea” Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, Constanta County Police Inspectorate, Constanta Gendarmerie Inspectorate, Mobile Gendarmerie Group „Tomis” and Direction for Public Healthcare Constanta. The exercise aimed to highlight the coordinated actions and the integrated mechanisms put in practice as well as how the public institutions and other relevant organizations work together in the case of migrants stranded on the sea or trying to reach Romania by boats on the Black Sea. The exercise also meant activating the Integrating Center of Border control, Public health protection and Clarification of the migrants’ situation at the border, on the ground of the Constanta port. Within this Integrating Center, after the public health procedures were performed, the migrants saved from the sea received emergency assistance – food, water, clothes, as well as counseling and support from the representatives of Municipality of Constanta and the NGOs present- Novapolis Association and Center of Civic Resources Constanta.
Also, the migrants received information regarding their rights, especially the right to seek asylum in Romania, all the information was available in several languages and also a translator and cultural mediator was present if they needed this type of support. At the simulation exercise, more than 100 Romanian ambassadors and diplomats were invited as guests within the Annual Reunion of the Romanian Diplomacy organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On the last day of the exchange visit, 30th of August 2019, the delegation of Municipality of Rhodes had several meetings with relevant stakeholders in Bucharest. The first meeting was with Mr Ovidiu Voicu, Executive Director of the Center for Public Innovation, a Romanian NGO that also holds the Secretariat of the Romanian NGOs Coalition for Migrants and Refugees Rights. The discussions focused on the presentation of the National Integration Evaluation Mechanism (NIEM) Study and its results at national and European level on different refugee integration policy areas: residence, family reunion, education, labour market, vocational training, health, citizenship, language and cultural orientation. The meeting continued with presenting specific advocacy initiatives and actions of the Romanian NGOs Coalition for Migrants and Refugees Rights and how the Coalition collaborates with public authorities at central and local level to support migrants and refugees inclusion. The last meeting of the exchange visit of the Municipality of Rhodes delegation that took place on 30th of August, 2019 was with the representatives of the Schottener Social Services Foundation that coordinate and provide services in the Regional Center of Migrants’ Integration in Bucharest in close cooperation with IOM Romania. The discussions focused on the presentation of the projects and initiatives developed by the Foundation to support the inclusion of migrants and refugees, as well as different project to assist resettled refugees from countries such as Jordan, Turkey, Malta, and Greece. At the same time, it was stressed the necessity for a stronger cooperation between local authorities and NGOs and other relevant stakeholders in order to develop and implement sustainable local mechanisms for migrants and refugees inclusion in local communities.