"An interesting meeting" - this is how the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, described the meeting with Romanian president Traian Basescu. "We are happy to have in Italy a community of almost one million people coming from Romania, contributing to our economy", said the head of the Italian Government.
Although the initial protocol included only formal statements, president Basescu and PM Berlusconi answered five questions addressed by journalists.
Asked by HotNews.ro if the Roma minority fingerprinting operations will continue and how will this affect the education of Roma minors, Berlusconi answered:
"There is a completely misleading information about the fingerprinting operations involving Roma minors. The interest in this operation is to ensure and protect the right of minors. I refer mainly to the children sent by parents to beg, instead of getting an education. Our concern must be to offer proper training and education to Roma children as well as to any other children. Fingerprinting is an usual practice, which we will soon expand to Italian citizens and foreigners in Italy. Identification is an elementary measure to ensure rights and to demand obligations from all citizens. I want to mention that the European Union decided last year that all passports must contain the fingerprints of their owners".
After Berlusconi's response, president Basescu added that "In Italy, fingerprinting the minors is possible only with the agreement of their parents, tutors or, in their absence, in the presence of a judge".