The cases of Romanian citizens going to Italy for work are permanently on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE), of the Romanian Embassy in Italy and of the other relevant Romanian authorities, such as the Labour Ministry, the MAE stated on Thursday, answering allegations of Daniel Buda, MEP who asked for measures to prevent the exploitation of Romanian workers in southern Italy.
In a release to Agerpres, the MAE asserts that the working conditions of Romanian workers, the informal working relations and the exploitation cases get maximum attention and are monitored as a priority.
“The approaches (…) focused on two levels: the dialogue with Italian authorities aiming at enhancing verifications, and the informing of the Romanian community on its rights and on the risks of undocumented labour. The actions of Romanian authorities were mainly directed to the farming areas in the regions of Campania, Calabria, Sicily, Apulia and Basilicata, seen as presenting a high risk potential as regards the respect for the rights of agricultural workers in Italy; also the regions of Abruzzo and Lazio, considered areas with moderate risk,” the document adds.
It also mentions several actions of the ministry in this respect, such as the July 13-19 meetings of Ambassador Dana Constantinescu with officials and members of the Romanian community in southern Italy. According to the MAE, the main priority of the action was the condition of farming and family assistance workers without legal forms.
The release also reminds the participation of the labour and social problems attaché of the Romanian Embassy in an information and awareness workshop organized by the CISL labour union confederation at the seat of the Foggia Province (in Apulia). The event aimed at developing collaboration between various Italian and foreign institutions to ensure the protection of Romanian citizens and to create favourable conditions for their integration.
“Alongside the actions of the Embassy’s representatives, the Minister Delegate for Liaison with Romanian Diaspora Angel Tilvar met Sicilian authorities in February 2015 on the same topic; Labour Minister Rovana Plumb also met her Italian counterpart Giuliano Poletti; and State Secretary Ioana Cazacu of the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and Elderly Persons (MMFPS) paid a visit in July 2015. On top of all these, there have been actions of Romanian authorities throughout of 2014,” the source points out.
Moreover, the MAE asserts that the same problems were addressed during consultations of Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu with his Italian counterpart, in Bucharest, this July.
As regards future actions of the ministry on this matter, continuing the aforementioned ones, the release informs that the Romanian Embassy in Italy has planned other steps this autumn to improve the conditions of Romanian workers in southern Italy.
“In September, the ambassador has scheduled a travel to Apulia, from Barletta to Otranto, to reassert the messages to Italian authorities about the working conditions of Romanians in farming. Also from September on, a wide information programme of the MMFPS will be implemented in several Italian cities, on the workforce mobility and the legal employment procedures in Italy,” the MAE’s release points out.
As regards the Nardo region, where Buda claimed there are more than 400,000 workers facing “serious forms of abuse,” the ministry asserts that only several cases of Romanian citizens asking for support were recorded.
“As regards the condition of Romanian citizens around Nardo, we must specify that throughout the Apulia region, where Nardo is located, 30,000 Romanian citizen residents are officially registered with the Italian authorities, and less than 20,000 of them work in agriculture. The relevant Romanian consular office in Catania only reported several individual requests of support formulated by Romanian citizens in the region, following labour conflicts with their local employers or with intermediaries in Romania. The necessary consular assistance was immediately provided to those individuals,” the release reads.
The MAE also mentions the recent start of procedures for establishing a new General Consulate in Bari, to contribute to consular assistance for the Romanian workers in southern Italy.
“The MAE also launched the ‘2015 Travelling Consulate’ programme, which periodically organizes travels under a mobile consulate regime, including to southern Italy, namely to Bari, in March 2015,” the ministry wrote.
National Liberal Party’s Daniel Buda, Member of the European Parliament had asked Romanian authorities to take steps for Romanians in southern Italy.
“I publicly ask the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bogdan Aurescu, the Romanian Labour Minister, Mrs. Rovana Plumb, and the Romanian Ambassador to Italy, Her Excellence Dana Constantinescu, to take all the necessary measures so that Romanian workers in southern Italy are no longer exploited and treated as slaves,” Buda wrote in a release to Agerpres on Tuesday.
According to him, the conditions of Romanian workers on plantations in southern Italy has become alarming.