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August 4, 2021
POLITICS

FM faces increasing criticism over Roma crime rate claims

Foreign Minister Teodor Baconshi is again facing criticism after insinuating, during the meeting he held on February 11 with Pierre Lellouche, French Secretary of State for European Affairs, that we have problems with the Roma minority which is prone to crime because of physiological reasons.


According to Mediafax, Peter Eckstein-Kovacs, Presidential advisor for national minorities, stated for Realitatea FM that Baconschi ‘made a mistake’ and his crime rate statement within the Roma community is ‘open to interpretations to say the least.’ He subsequently added the Minister explained during a meeting with Roma organizations that ‘he did not mean to imply any negative thing about ethnicity.’


Asked whether a resignation from the Minister would be justified, the Presidential advisor did not want to comment but said he has watched TV shows using ‘very harsh, insulting and generalizing expressions hinted at the Roma.’ At the same time, Kovacs added the crime rate among the Roma is not higher.


The Center for Judicial Resources (CRJ) has harshly criticized the public statements made by President Traian Basescu and FM Baconshi about the Roma, invoking a return to extremist discourse at high level in Romania and warning about the risk of interethnic conflicts.


‘We consider these statements confirm Roma stereotypes, deepen the feelings of rejection towards them and lead to interethnic conflicts. In a country affected by economic recession, the Roma ethnicity seems to be the most liable to becoming scapegoat,’ Georgiana Iorgulescu, executive director of CRJ, yesterday stated for Mediafax. At the same time, the CRJ representative criticized the absence of a reaction in the case of Minister Baconschi’s statement, reiterating her demand for the Minister’s resignation or sacking.


Last week several NGOs announced they will ask for the resignation or sacking of Minister Baconschi, accusing him of racism for his comments about Roma crime rate.

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