Friday, August 1, 2008

Romania to collaborate with Italy over Gypsies

ROME, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Romanian President Traian Basescu said here on Thursday Romania would cooperate with Italy to resolve the problem of Italy's gypsy camps.

Speaking after a meeting with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, Basescu said Romania wants to create a "shared plan" to help free gypsies with Romanian citizenship living in Italian camps "from the degrading state of poverty in which they find themselves."

"We realize that we share the problem of the Roma (gypsy) minority, and we want to collaborate with the Italian government to resolve the problem, which we have been unable to do at home," Basescu said.

Berlusconi said Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni will fly to Bucharest next week to meet his Romanian counterpart in order to discuss how best to use European Union funding to aid the integration of Roma communities.

Basescu also defended Italy from international criticism that it was discriminating against Romanian citizens living in the country following a controversial census of gypsy camps.

"It's far from true that there has been negative behavior towards the Romanian community in Italy," he said.

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