Joint Romanian-Italian home affairs board to start talks on Monday

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A joint Romanian-Italian board of home affairs authorities will start on Monday talks to find ways of improving the implementation of the Italian Government's decree on the expulsion of EU citizens, to make sure the measures envisaged will not target a certain nationality or ethnic community, Romanian Minister of Home Affairs and Administrative Reform Cristian David said on Friday. On Thursday he had a conversation in Rome with his Italian counterpart Robert Maroni.
 
'In continuation of yesterday's conversation, I have suggested and Minister Maroni agreed, that we should set up a joint team that will scrutinise the mechanism and the implementation of the decree, in application of Directive 38, approved by the Prodi Government, so that we can see what had been the problems with the enforcement of the decree and find out a future mechanism that would modify it; we should make sure that the amendments that might be brought will not be aimed against a certain nationality or ethnic community, and that we find out functioning mechanisms the will secure a strict application of the law by the Italian authorities. And that means on Monday a Romanian-Italian joint team will start talks that will likely complete by the end of the next week,' said David.
 
He also said Minister Maroni gave him assurances that any amendment of the decree is meant to strengthen the reaction capacity of the Italian authorities to provide public order and security for the Italian citizens.
 
'There are not only Italians living in Italy, but also very many Romanians who are legal aliens and for whom public and personal security is needed. Consequently, this is a legislative package aimed at securing public order in Italy, and that is how it should be understood and treated. Our efforts will be concerted and there is no reason to believe that this would be something targeted against some nationality or ethnic community. What should be clear from this matter is that law has to be strictly enforced in Italy,' said David.
 
He mentioned that the negotiating Romanian authorities have made it clear that there are two non-negotiable matters: law observance and the observance of the freedom of movement for persons, which Romanians won once their country entered the European Union.
 
He said Romania is strongly supporting law enforcement, but the enforcement should be non-discriminatory and it should also not generate abuses.
 
The issue of crime among Romanians is a generalised matter, said David.
 
'I believe this issue should be treated in full responsibility and in all earnestness and it must be first of all de-politicised. There has been a certain rhetoric characteristic of the election time in Italy, which, truth be told, was somehow long, and that fanned up the issue, sometimes unfairly and inappropriately; there are certain consequences that could be hard to nullify if we stopped here and failed to reinstate normalcy, realism and pragmatism in tackling and solving the problem. This is not so general a problem as some media stories paint it and it can be kept under control by the Italian authorities in cooperation with Romanian authorities,' said David.
 
He added that there are 800,000 Romanian nationals working in Italy, 25,000 Italian companies operating in Romania and some 15-20,000 Romanian companies established in Italy.
 
He also said he cannot comment on recent statements by Italian Minister Franco Frattini that law breakers should be fingerprinted.
 
'Frattini knows very well the principle behind the freedom of movement for persons in the European Union and I am convinced that if this has to do with law enforcement and public order in Italy he will act in full compliance with the European spirit,' said David.
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