"Romanians in Italy have been labelled with an infamous stigma, namely that of rapists. This is one of the most shameful stereotypes that such a superficial information system could ever release. And such a stereotype produces racist violent phenomena", Italian Deputies Chamber Speaker Gianfranco Fini declared in Roma on Wednesday.

The Italian politician talked during the introduction of a book written by Italian deputy Guido Melis and Romanian journalist Alina Harja, called "Romanians - the decisive minority for tomorrow's Italy".

Gianfranco Fini recalled the way the Italian press treated subjects regarding some crimes committed by Romanian citizens and declared that "institutions can and must do more to combat prejudices, but an important role is held by the mass-media".

"At the basis of today's prejudices addressing Romanians there is, before all, a real whole in of cultural memory which characterises the political and informational worlds, but also the Italian society".

Fini mentioned the European cultural contributions of some Romanians, quoting play writer Eugene Ionesco, "constrained to exile by the communist regime" and writer Mircea Eliade. "I cannot understand how it is possible that some Italians belonging to so-called high circles forget about the cultural contribution brought by Romanian intellectuals in the European context. I remember my youth, when right-winged Italians knew Vintila Horia's work, especially "God was born in exile".

"Italy may be a land of opportunity and growth for Romanians, but also for Italians interacting with Romanians", the Italian Deputies Chamber Speaker said. He concluded by expressing his hope that Romanians in the Peninsula hat are guests today, "tomorrow may become citizens".

Deputy Guido Melis, author of the presented book, insisted on common values that link Italians and Romanians, starting with economic relations: "The rapport between the two is already underlined by the work Romanians do in the Peninsula, but also by the economic activity that Italians have in Romania. It is on these grounds that we need to build an increasingly tighter connection, valuing the common European roots", Melis declared.

The co-author of the book on Romanians Alina Harja told us that the book's aim is to "show the true face of the community of Romanians living in Italy, formed by human beings with flaws, qualities, dreams, hopes and own opinions. Romanians have been used by the Italian political class especially during electoral campaigns. In fact, we are European citizens and we have the right to be treated as such".