Gelu Dragulin talked with members of the Roma community in a number of authorized camps, on the outskirts of Rome, such as Candoni and Camping River.
The counsellor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the questions of the Roma people encouraged them to organize themselves in associations, in a legal institutional framework meant to make it possible for them to get this way access to the social services the Italian State offers as well as to develop a closer dialogue with the local authorities.
„If the Roma in Italy found it easy to get a job before, now it is more and more difficult … The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs [MAE] cannot help them as they would like it. MAE can at most take steps with the authorities, can make them aware, can make them become dialogue partners of the authorities here, can help them by consular activities,” Gelu Dragulin told.
He had a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Policies during which they discussed possible projects devoted to the Roma community. Both sides said they were open to consolidating cooperation as a continuation of the projects that were already carried out. „This time the authorities had no complaints and I saw they wanted to cooperate,” said Gelu Dragulin.
He stated again the willingness of the Romanian side to continue the cooperation in the field of the social inclusion, in the light of the Romanian-Italian summit in October 2008 and of the initiatives that were already taken bilaterally.
The counsellor for the questions of the Roma people also had meetings with representatives of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of the Italian Ministry of the Interior and with representatives of the City Hall of Rome. During these meetings they voiced the willingness of the Romanian side to cooperate and also suggested using the Romanian expertise in the field and the practices implemented in Romania, adapted to the Italian realities.
They also voiced hope that the joint efforts of the Romanian and Italian authorities would contribute to improving the situation of the community members.
The working visit will continue in Spain, France and Norway, where the counsellor for the questions of the Roma people will meet officials working with the Ministries of Justice, the Interior, Culture, Labour, local authorities as well as representatives of the organizations and associations of the Romanian born Roma people in the countries under consideration.
This initiative is part of the MAE efforts with a view to ensuring the observance of the rights of the Romanian citizens living in the European space – free movement, steps for the liberalization of the access to the labour market, granting consular assistance – and the removal of those acts running counter to the laws in force of the countries in question.