French daily Le Monde wonders about the future effects of the Italian expelling decree - which allows authorities to expel EU citizens who committed crimes on Italian soil - but also about the wave of xenophobic acts targeted at Romanians. The first to be affected are the commercial exchanges, Rome being the main foreign partner of Bucharest. Then the large Italian businesses in Romania begin to fear retaliation from the people know until recently as friends.
"Descending from a plane on the Timisoara airport, one may feel as if in Italy", Le Monde reads. "Ads and road signs are bilingual, in Romanian and Italian, very often with identical words, since the two languages are very close to the Ancient Latin. But, after the middle of November, the relationship between the two cousins begun to get colder. The Italian government adopted an expelling degree that refers mainly to Romanians".
The wide article published by Le Monde tries to answer questions about the future of some tens of thousands of Italian businessmen, some of them leading successful companies. The author explain first that the Italian public opinion became hostile towards the new immigration wave coming from Romania, reaching a figure of some 500,000 people, according to unofficial sources. As a consequence, the number of aggressions against Romanian residents is on the increase.
Rome is the main partner for Bucharest: some 22,000 Italian enterprises are active in Romania, compared to only 7,000 firms opened by Romanians in Italy. The large Italian companies in Romania started to fear reprisals. Romanians begun to have a bad eye for Italians, the last example being one at the nuclear plant in Cernavoda, where an employee wondered why the Italian engineers earn tens of thousands euro, being far from as competent as first thought.
The crisis may also have effects on the agriculture, Italians owning some 2% of the agriculture-fit surface in Romania, some 300,000 hectares.
Italians say their Economic Development Minister, who recently visited Romania for a fresh impression, has no idea - just as many Western politicians have no idea - what Romanians are really like. "I can tell you I feel much safer as an Italian in Romania than I would have felt as a Romanian in Italy", says one of the Italian businessmen in Timisoara. "We had an Italian who killed a Romanian woman and the Romanian authorities didn't rush to say that all Italians are criminals. They just convicted a criminal and that was it", the man says for Le Monde.