Intercultural integration strategy
Timiș county is one of the most economically developed regions in Romania, with an extremely low unemployment rate, a thriving commercial, industrial and educational centre. The county has a long and successful history of multiculturalism, as various ethnic groups (Hungarians, Germans, Serbians, Bulgarians, Ukrainian etc) have been living there peacefully. Moreover, Timiș is the westernmost county, neighbouring Hungarian and Serbian border and it is very well connected with the rest of the national and European transport infrastructure. Therefore, Timiș is a destination county both at national level andwith regards to extra-European immigration. Timis County has relevant experience regarding the support for newly arrived migrants and refugees, the cooperation of public authorities with civil society for providing such support, as well as for the promotion of an intercultural approach to managing cultural diversity.
According to the Administrative Code, Timiș County Council administers the public and private domain of the county, manages the public services of county interest (social services, child protection, education, health, public order, emergency situations, record of persons) and is responsible for internal and external inter-institutional cooperation. Through the General Directorate of Social Assistance and Child Protection, the regional administration is directly involved in matters of social care and child protection. It collaborates with all the 99 local council or relevant NGO-s, in solving problems concerning beneficiaries of international protection and third-country nationals with the right to reside in Romania who need support for integration into Romania.
At the level of the Timis County, a local support team was established, by an order of the prefect, to support the development and the implementation of an intercultural integration strategy. In terms of the objectives of the EU-BelongG project and the activities envisaged, the project manager is included in this local support team and the project coordinator is the alternate. Each local public administration authority further appointed a permanent representative and an alternate in this support team.
With the help of the EU-Belong project, Timis aims to improve the skills of the local and regional stakeholders in broadening the scope of integration strategies, with special attention to cultural and educational needs of both newcomers and the host society.
In the context of the EU-Belong project, Timis County developed an intercultural integration strategy, based on a participatory model originally developed with the Council of Europe and the Intercultural regions Network. The strategy is therefore based around the 4 pillars of interculturalism: diversity, equality, interaction, participation.
For the development of this strategy, Timis identified the following weaknesses: the limited overall coordination and medium-term orientation of different actions: dependency on funding managed at national level, funding allocated to activities encouraging social assistance rather than to participation, lack of explicit competencies and therefore of lack of involvement of regional institutions in sectors such as employment, housing or healthcare. Timis County therefore chose to focus on defining a coherent multi-stakeholder and multi-level framework for the coordination and cooperation associated with monitoring and evaluation mechanisms on the one hand, and, on the other hand, on facilitating the involvement of institutions providing mainstream services in supporting the intercultural integration of newly arrived migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.
The presentation shared at the Includ-EU workshop 1 is available under this link.
Website of the EU-Belong project: https://eu-belong.aer.eu/
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