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President Iohannis met Italian counterpart Mattarella at the Quirinale Palace in Rome


Romania's President Klaus Iohannis on Monday met his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella at the Quirinale Palace in Rome, the official residence of the Italian president, with Matarella saying the time has come for Romania to be a member of the Schengen Area. 

The two presidents discussed bilateral issues and items on the European and international agenda. 

Also featured in their conversation was Romania's accession to the border-free Schengen Area, with Mattarella reiterating his support and the support of the Italian Government for Romania achieving its accession objective. 

"The time has come for Romania to be part of the Schengen Area," the Romanian Presidential Administration quotes Mattarella as saying in a press release. 

The two heads of state voiced mutual satisfaction over the developments and substance of the Romanian-Italian relationships that are underpinned by traditions and strong ties and also a development framework in the shape of a consolidated strategic partnership of 2008. 

In the same context, the importance of the economic and commercial relations between the two countries was emphasised, along with the existing potential for their amplification. 

At the same time, mention was made of the importance of the Romanian community of Italy and the Italian community of Romania as a solid bridge for connection and cooperation between the two countries. 

"President Sergio Mattarella underscored the significant contribution of the Romanian community of Italy to the country's economic development. In his turn, President Iohannis extended thanks to his Italian counterpart for the support of Italian authorities for the integration of the Romanian society with the Italian society," reads the release. 

Iohannis is quoted as saying the Romanian community of Italy is "important to Italy and Romania as well." 

In relation to the items on the European agenda, Iohannis mentioned the importance of securing a European prospect for Moldova, with the incoming Riga summit meeting to be a key moment in the process. 

Mattarella gave assurances that Italy will back up Romania's support for Moldova. 

The Italian president is quoted as thanking Romania for its position voiced at an extraordinary summit meeting in Brussels last week of the European Council that tackled migration, adding that Romania was one of the countries that displayed the highest sensitivity about the issue at hand. 

Also discussed were items on the international agenda, such as the situation in Libya and the intensification of international terror. 

The two presidents agreed to conduct a sustained dialogue during their terms in office, with Iohannis inviting his Italian counterpart to visit Romania. Mattarella said he very gladly accepts the invitation. 

Also on Monday, Iohannis met Chairman of Italy's Senate Pietro Grasso to discuss reforms underway in the two countries, as well as the role and activities of the Romanian and Italian national parliaments. 

Iohannis is paying an official visit to Italy, April 27-28.