23 March 2006


Date:2006 March 23, 17:28 (Thursday) Canonical ID:06ROME915_a

Original Classification:CONFIDENTIAL Current Classification:CONFIDENTIAL

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TAGS:CASC - Consular Affairs--Assistance to Citizens | CVIS - Consular Affairs--Visas | EUN - European Communities | IT - Italy | KOCI - Children''s Issues | PREL - Political Affairs--External Political Relations | RO - Romania | SOCI - Social Affairs--Social Conditions | UN - United Nations Concepts:-- Not Assigned --

Enclosure:-- Not Assigned -- Type:TE

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B. B) STATE 8097


Classified By: Consul General Barbara C. Cummings, for reasons 1.4 (b)

and (d).

1. (C) SUMMARY: In response to ref A, Conoff contacted the

GOI Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 22 to raise the

issue of pending Romanian adoption cases. According to

Minister Giuseppe Panocchia, the GOI agrees with the U.S.

that the rigid position of the Romanian government on the

outstanding adoption cases is neither in the best interests

of the children nor relevant to Romania's primary goal of

accession to the European Union. Frustrated by bilateral

attempts to influence the Romanian government, the GOI is now

looking towards Brussels, where it hopes that recent

criticism of Romania by several members of the European

Parliament might rouse the European Commission to stop

supporting the current Romanian position on the adoption


2. (C) On March 22, Conoff spoke with Giuseppe Panocchia, the

MFA official responsible for international adoption cases and

children's issues. Panocchia described a series of efforts

by Italian diplomats in Bucharest, Rome and Brussels over the

past three months to persuade the Romanian government to

reconsider its position that the roughly 1100 pending cases

from 2001-2004 should be refused under a retroactive

interpretation of a January 2005 law. According to

Panocchia, Italian diplomats encountered a "firmly closed

door" both through their Embassy in Bucharest and through the

European Commission in Brussels, despite GOI efforts to point

out the extent to which Italian law favors and protects the

rights of children. Panocchia shares the U.S. view that

Romania's position is primarily based on the fear of

jeopardizing its accession plans by not complying with

perceived EU norms.

3. (C) Panocchia believes some hope now lies with the

European Parliament, as several of its deputies recently

spoke out on the issue and criticized Romania for taking a

stance they felt ran counter to the children's interests.

During the week of March 13, the Italian MFA asked Brussels

to clarify the position of the European Parliament, in an

effort to see if pressure could bring the Commissioners to

change their view. Panocchia voiced GOI frustration with the

Commission on the adoption issue, saying that the

Commission's stance has not budged at all and continues to be

one of "absolute deafness." Barring any breakthroughs in the

near future, Panocchia speculated that the pending cases

would all likely be refused or else considered only after

Romania joins the EU in 2007.

4. (U) Panocchia said the GOI is now waiting for a response

to its inquiry in Brussels and will inform Embassy Rome of

any new developments.