Fingerprinting Roma gypsies in Italy has been given the European Commission’s blessing. A spokesman for Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot said co-operation between the centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi and Brussels had made this possible.
Critics of the plan said it was a violation of fundamental human rights. Yet Barrot’s spokesman said fingerprinting will not be systematic and that strict conditions will be applied.
The EU had questioned Italy’s ‘crackdown on crime’ initiative which the government said would improve information about the circumstances under which an estimated 160,000 Roma live in Italy.
The government insisted the plan is not ethnic discrimination, and claimed Brussels had fully-vindicated the Italian authorities’ intentions. Ministers said critics of fingerprinting had stoked anti-immigrant feeling.