Romanian President Fined for Disparaging Roma

World | February 11, 2014, Tuesday // 11:10|  views

A photo shows Romanian President Traian Basescu gesturing during a media briefing in Bucharest. EPA/BGNES

The National Council for Combating Discrimination has fined Romanian President, Traian Basescu, for disparaging the country's Roma minority.

The fine is in the amount of USD 185.

Romania's official anti-discrimination agency initially declined to take the case because Basescu made the comments while on a visit abroad.

Later, the Supreme Court ordered the agency, which is under the control of parliament, to take the case.

Basescu has not yet issued an official reaction.

He was fined for having said "very few of Roma want to work'' and "traditionally many of them live off stealing", during a 2010 news conference in Slovenia.

The BBC reminds that Romania officially has 620 000 Roma, but the number is believed to be far higher because many do not declare their ethnicity to avoid widespread discrimination.

As in Bulgaria, the majority of Roma are unemployed and live deplorable housing and conditions, with limited access to healthcare and education.

Basescu made recently another controversial statement about the Roma.

Speaking in Berlin in January, while defending their right of free movement in the European Union, he said Roma irritate people by begging and are "perhaps more troublesome than a banker who makes tens of billions disappear from a bank".

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Tags: Romanian, president, Traian Basescu, National Council for Combating Discrimination, Roma


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