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Romania to consider changing official designation of Roma to "Gypsies"

Bucharest, 5.2.2011 14:59, (ROMEA)

Romania is planning to change its official designation of members of the Roma ethnicity from Roma to "Gypsies". The reason is said to be the similarity between the name of the country - "Romania" in Romanian - and the name of the Roma ("Romi" in Romanian). The designation of "Gypsies" ("Tsigani" in Romanian) is also said to be in greater use. Two parliamentary committees expressed their agreement with the change on Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

Roma associations, of course, do not like this idea, as they consider the designation of "Gypsies" ("Tsigani") to be abusive. They say it connotes a lack of education, a national uprootedness, and poverty.

According to official data, 500 000 Roma people live in Romania (out of a total population of 22 million). However, this number is evidently a significant underestimate. The actual number is said to be three times that.

Roma people comprise the largest minority in the European Union. Estimates of their numbers on the continent are between 10 and 12 million. In the Czech Republic, about 11 700 people claimed Roma ethnicity during the last census. According to more recent estimates, however, approximately a quarter of a million Roma live in the country today.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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