[JURIST] Italian opposition leader and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] on Sunday urged Italy to ban Romanian workers from entering Italy, while conservative ally Gianfranco Fini suggested that Italy should expel 20,000 Romanian workers in response to a wave of violent crimes blamed on foreigners. Romanian workers have been detained in several recent crimes, and statisticians say foreigners commit a disproportionate number of violent crimes in Italy. Romanians entered Italy en mass looking for jobs following Romania's entrance into the European Union earlier this year.
Last week, the Italian Cabinet gave authorities the power to expel EU citizens with criminal records or people deemed dangerous to public safety, and Italian authorities have already begun deporting Romanians [BBC reports]. Parliament still must approve the measure, and moderate Prime Minister Romano Prodi [official profile] has a narrow majority to defeat the measure. Romania's government has already warned Italy that their actions could lead to widespread xenophobia in Italy, but the European Union has said the plan does not violate EU law [Daily Mail report]. A Romanian was arrested in the death of the wife of an Italian naval commander Friday, sparking reprisal attacks [AFP report] on Romanian workers over the weekend. AP has more.