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On September 22nd, 2011, against the background of a firm opposition of the Netherlands and Finland to Romania and Bulgaria's entry in the Schengen zone, the Romanian President, Traian Basescu, explained on a televised show: "Diplomacy has its limits. For example, you cannot tell the Finn 'it is not true, Gypsies were not in the center of Helsinki and did not beg' (...) What can diplomacy do when the Government finds that the Gypsies are begging, begging aggresively, have started stealing in busses, in...; what can diplomacy do, because there you have the reaction of a public opinion and any Government firstly looks at the public opinion from its own country". 

The NGO Center for Legal Resources protested and called the President's attitude outrageous and irresponsible for blaming his own external failures on a minority already blamed by the majority of Romanians for the country's bad image abroad. The NGO also recalled that this is not the first time when the President made discriminatory assertions against the Roma and also explained why scapegoating is dangerous in a Romanian context already adverse to Roma and where ethnic conflict as well as racist incidents have happened in the recent past. Last, the NGO asked the equality body, the National Council for Combating Disccrimination (NCCD) to initiate an ex oficio investigation against the President.

Following the President's assertions, the NGO Romani CRISS sent an open letter to the Finnish authorities, expressing concern with the fact that the Roma are blamed for Finland's decision and asking for the official position of Finland on this matter and to explain whether the issue of Romanian Roma begging in Finland has played a role in the decision of the Finninsh Government as to the accession of Romania to the Schengen zone. The NGO also sent an open letter to the Romanian President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs expressing its concern over the blaming of the Roma for the decision of the Finnish Government to reject Romania's entry into Schengen. Romani CRISS also asked the Romanian authorities to make available the official documents sent by the Finnish state regarding the way in which Finland's internal security is endangered by "Romanian gypsies", respectively the documents which show that Roma beggary has represented the factor which determined Finland's position. Another request was that Romanian authorities clarify whether beggary undertaken by Romanian citizens in Finland can represent a reason of rejection of Romania's application to enter Schengen. In the end, the NGO reminded that anti-Roma violence or extremist incidents have exacerbated in Europe, Romania included, and asked the President to retract his assertions which the NGO considered inexact and prejudicial, of a nature to reinforce Roma stigmatization and blaming.

The NCCD did not start an ex oficio  investigation but was seized by a Roma activist in this matter. The equality body  thus decided  on October 17th 2011, with five votes in favour and two against, that the President's assertions "What can diplomacy do when the Government finds that the Gypsies are begging, have started stealing in busses..?" represent discrimination, and gave the President a warning.