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Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Marga, declared during a TV talk show, when asked how he is going to solve the issue of the “scandal with the beggars in London”: “We have this problem. (…) In London there was a pretty embarrassing situation. There were recorded, at least by the British press, many Roma buying vodka, enjoying themselves and sitting on the clean streets of London for the passersby to see them.” The Minister continued explaining that social workers and police officers have been sent to support London authorities in order to keep the problem under control, adding: “It is understood that the London Olympics is now attracting, and many people, not only from Romania, from this level of the society, is heading towards London. Let us hope that we will be able to keep under control. Certainly, our concern is, if you like, very intense in this direction. Why? An accident, an incident in this area would endanger our effort, more persistent than ever, to close the Schengen file, to get access to other facilities, such as the American visas, etc., etc.” [1]

Romani CRISS and the Center for Legal Resources NGOs issued a press statement condemning the Minister’s racist assertions: “For the first time, a high ranking Romanian dignitary, Romania’s representative in foreign affairs, considers as embarrassing the simple presence of persons belonging to a certain ethnicity in a particular space. (…) These people the Minister is talking about are Romanian citizens whose rights the Minister of Foreign Affairs is supposed to defend, whose situation is supposed to concern him. In return, Minister Marga reveals a racist philosophy, in an aggravating combination with a class philosophy specific to those centuries which had not known modern democracy and human rights, let alone the duty of the state to create the framework where all have equal chances, regardless of ethnicity, social origin, etc. (…) Minister Marga directly transforms the Roma into scapegoats for the incapacity of the Romanian diplomacy to obtain Romania’s entry into the Schengen area, and, in addition, to obtain the US visa waiver. Putting the blame on the Roma for the fact that Romanians still need visas for the US is a new thing in the populist-discriminatory rhetoric of Romanian high-level dignitaries. Obviously, the Roma have nothing to do with this diplomatic file in the sense invoked by the Minister. They might however be connected to it through the fact that the structural discrimination and social exclusion to which the Roma are being subject raise serious questions as to the democratic functioning and the rule of law in Romania.” [2]



  1. The recording of the show Realitatea la Raport (Reality under review), moderated by Andreea Cretulescu and Adrian Cioroianu, from 17.05.2012, is available at:  (accessed at: 29.05.2012)
  2. Center for Legal Resources and Romani CRISS Press Statement, 21.05.2012, available at: (accessed at: 29.05.2012)