They could be a thousand in Aude. Most often women with children who, with rare exceptions, do not intend to start a new life in France. But the war will last, and the reconstruction even longer. Short-, medium- and long-term housing solutions are being investigated in Aude in collaboration with a Romanian department.
The first wave has arrived safely. In the evenings in the squares of certain villages you can see women, often accompanied by a child, in tracksuits, smelling of peace and freedom or texting their spouse at home.
André Viola returns from the Maramures department in Romania as delegate to the Council of Europe and president of the European Confederation of Intermediate Local Authorities: an area similar to the Aude, but which shares a 450 km border with Ukraine and is responsible – given by the Romanian state Of reception of refugees.
Aude, like Tarn and other wards, came to the aid of this ward, which now houses 10,000 Ukrainian refugees. Aude would welcome a tenth of this figure.
In Cluj-Napoca, a university town in the southern part of the Maramures department (see map), André Viola was able to meet with members of the National Union of County Councils of Romania (UNCJR) to discuss several global issues that will require long-term solutions quickly.
“The first problem identified in Romania as in France is vaccination (of all vaccinations). In Romania, it is the first to be treated”says André Viola, before evoking the central point, the Ukrainian youth: “The second problem is language and thus school integration”.
“I see it with twins living in Alzonne who go to college in Bram: Without English as a support language, it’s not easy, even if it goes fast with these little ones. Romanians encounter the same problem with the method integration through language.”, explains the elected Aude. Because the war will last.
In Romania, a “strong fear of conflict overflow”
A former legionary from the 4th Foreign Regiment in Castelnaudary, who returned to Romania, knows that the conflict is not over and that it even risks spreading. “Although television here is focused on US aid for armaments and almost never talks about the refugees, apart from the crossings of the Danube in Tulcea, there are still questions among the people about Transnistria. (see map) where, as almost everywhere in Eastern Europe, live groups of Russian-speaking peoples, displaced by the Soviet Union for this specific purpose of occupying the country.
Back in Bram, André Viola confirms “that there is a strong fear due to the contagion of the conflict in Romania, and in relation to Putin. I was told: ” You do not measure what he is and what he can do ”. In Romania, as in Poland, the war has brought back the ghost from the communist bloc, the wall, the deprivations. “
The future of unaccompanied minors
Third problem discovered that André Viola wants to work with: reception of unaccompanied minors, an area of solidarity, where the department through its competence has experience that it can share with the Romanians. “There is work to be done in the long run, over several months or even more”the elected representative believes: “The idea of Judet de Maramures is to seek European funding to develop this reception, the call for European projects ends at the end of May.”.
The orphans placed in Ukraine before the war must be found in appropriate structures, or the language, culture and thus integration must not constitute a barrier. Minors arriving in Romania on their way to France should ideally be followed to rebuild their identity with the help of the two countries or departments.
Initially, the collaboration will be about exchanging experiences with the professional center for children in Maramures. But also around the reception in more permanent housing, here and there.
Sometimes, as in this small village in Montagne Noire, the welcome is so warm that refugees dream of staying there or returning with their companion who has resided in Ukraine. When the war is over.