Vatican, Nov. 7, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu met with Pope Benedict XVI on November 7, and thanked the Pontiff for his efforts on behalf of Romanian immigrants living in Italy.
Tariceanu praised the Pope for advocating "tolerance and integration" at a time when some political leaders in Italy have been pressing for wholesale deportations. Romanian immigrants in Italy, estimated to number well over 500,000, have been blamed for a wave of crime in recent weeks. Tariceanu argued that these charges reflect "a wave of xenophobia."A Vatican statement released after the Pope's meeting with the Romanian leader confirmed that they had discussed the need "to welcome immigrants and educate people in tolerance."