José Luis Molina about migratory corridors between Romania and Spain (interview)

José Luis Molina, professor at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, gave a talk for Scena9, an online platform that analyzes and promotes the cultural life in Romania. José Molina was asked about the social relationships between Romania and Spain. The link for the interview, in Romanian, can be accessed here.

José Luis talked about ORBITS, his ongoing project, one developed together with a team from University of Bucharest, coordinated by Marian-Gabriel Hâncean. The aim of the project is to study how European citizens seek better opportunities through intra-European mobility, employing a transnational perspective. The project analyzes two important Romanian enclaves established in Spain, having connections with migrant areas of origin. In the first part of the project, the Castellón – Dâmboviţa migratory corridor (the county where most of the Romanians come from the city of Valencia) was documented. The second corridor will analyze the relation between Roquetas de Mar and Bistrița Năsăud.

At this moment (i.e. October 2018), both teams have just finished the first phase of the project- studying the migration corridor Castellon-Dâmboviţa by interviewing 150 people from Castellon and 150 people from Târgoviște, using a link-tracing methodology. At this phase the project aim is to rebuild the huge network of interactions between these two cities, from Facebook communication to money transfer processes. The second phase of the project will start in the begging of 2019.

Nowadays, Castellon is considered to be the new home for many Romanians leaving from Târgoviște. There is a very wide cultural transformation, possible due to the European Union which allows such an extensive mobility. The question which arises is linked to the reason why Romanians chose Spain as their main destination, together with Italy. Professor Molina proposes an answer closely related to legislation. In the 1990s, the legal framework in Spain and Italy allowed a massive process of migration regulations. Thus, the legislation turned them into countries of destination for migrants. Another important reason was that, during that period, both in Spain and Italy, an explosion in the construction sector took place, and that meant a big volume of unskilled workers who could work in both countries.

José Luis pointed out that ORBITS project helped the research team to realize that in Spain (Castellon) the category of people around whom several connections are build is that of the “firstcomers”, the entrepreneurs. They are essential because they have set the conditions for the migration chain to work. These few people who came in the beginning offered support to any Romanian who arrived in the area.

Those enclaves are interesting to study because they are part of an emerging phenomenon: an enormous number of people migrate to a specific place without someone planning that in advance.