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From the moment Romania officially entered the European Union in 2007, policies were defined, measures were taken and funds were allocated. But while the country awaits the result, the need to address further issues is starting to build.The European status subscribes to rights and responsibilities, but after four years, negotiations are still at a critical point.
Recently, three Romanian citizens living in Paris have felt that being Romanian does not always involve being European. On 9th of September, three Romanian citizens, one of them a student at Sorbonne, were accused of theft on the grounds that one of their outfits bore a similarity with that of the real culprit.
The local police was alerted about the theft of a mobile phone by the victim in Paris, Pigalle. The description of the persons involved was a random match to two young Romanians who happened to be not far from the site of the theft, along with their friend – a female student at Sorbonne.
Without any other consideration, the three were taken to the police station. Not only were they arrested, but also treated with a complete lack of respect. The police were quoted for mockingly saying that there might be another Sorbonne for poor Romanian people and one even shouted at them: “Shut-up, I don’t like Romanians!”
Fortunately, the story had a happy ending with the intervention of the press but the only apology given by the judge was that “unfortunately other persons from your country steal phones and you suffered the consequences.” The three young Romanians have since decided to sue the French state, according to Hotnews.ro
The incident comes after the football match between France and Romania earlier this month. In the day of the match the TV show Les Guignols de l’Info presented in the form of satire several discriminating observations about Romanians. Examples ranged from “We know that the Romanian national sport is begging, not football” to “We have to pay attention to their game?
Why – is it tough? No, they have lice” or “I have a good joke – do you know how you say trashcan in Romanian? …Bucharest.” Another similar TV discussion took place last year in July, on the same channel France 2, where the humorist Jonathan Lambert showed the Romanian greeting as “S’il vous plait, Messieurs!” with a raising hand.
The whole studio repeated the gesture. Around the same time, France decided to expel all Roma people (n. gypsies) in France to Romania, giving them 300 Euros as incentive. Not to say that Romanians are necessarily different from the Romany community, but their similar sounding names does not have the same background.
However, Romanians or Roma, they are all Europeans and should have access to Europe on the same level as the rest of the Union.Moreover, discrimination and a lack of respect was proved by the lively journalist Nelson Monfort on France 2, when he added to the news about the French swimmer of Romanian origins, Roxana Maracineanu: “We should take care on this issue with Romanians.”
Being in Europe gives you the basic right of fair treatment under the law, without stereotypes and discrimination. The effort has to come from both side: West Europe and East Europe.
If we take a look at the low rate (8, 6%) of absorption of European funds in Romania, the disastrous sporting ground of the aforementioned football match or the large number of Roma people with Romanian citizenship begging on the streets, we should compare them to some of the negative sides of our fellow European nations.
Eventually, being poor in financial capital or simply historical good fortune should not determine whether you are less European than others — should it?