Immigrants from the Eastern European country are the Madrid region’s largest foreign community. Many are defying stereotypes and integrating into society.
El Pais in English–An uncomfortable silence descends on the room when a Romanian confesses to being a Romanian. For a few seconds, the other person quickly runs through his or her mental references about this nationality. “Ah, well, you don’t look it!” is the typical answer after this particular Romanian has been compared with the Romanian Gypsies who steal copper wiring, the Romanian prostitutes on Madrid’s Montera street and the Romanian pimps who play the slot machines all day long. Often enough, the conversation continues with a “I once had a Romanian house cleaner who…”
Romanians stand for begging, for mafias and for prostitution. They will themselves admit as much, but they also stand for much more than that. The 220,641 Romanian nationals registered in Madrid make up the largest foreign group in the region – far larger than the 87,077 resident Moroccans. Their desire to adapt is so strong that they often renounce much of their own culture, but without ever becoming fully Spanish: they are what they humorously refer to as Rumañoles.
Read more on El Pais in English: The Changing Face of Romania