In an interview with RFI Romania, Bucharest Mayor Gabriela Firea admitted that it was wrong of her to go up on stage with Roland Garros winner Simona Halep to hand her the key to the city during the tennis player’s trophy presentation event on the National Arena.

Firea says that she later realised the moment should have been reserved for another time and that Halep should have been allowed to go to meet her fans by herself on the Arena.

“I’ve been thinking these days, reflecting on whether what I did was right or not, and I reached a conclusion that I hope others reach as well: good intentions were there from the first moment – but the big regret is that it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it. I had the best intention, but the result wasn’t what I had planned and it is clear that we were wrong, both my team and I, because in the tense atmosphere of Bucharest a week ago, after the PSD protest, it was clear that it wasn’t the best time and place to hand Halep the key to the city and the excellence diploma, after I had already awarded Simona Halep with the honorary citizenship in February on the National Arena, where we wholeheartedly organised Simona’s meeting with her fans,” Firea said.

She continued, “I did it because I knew that this is done throughout Europe, it is done in America too, I had seen such events as a journalist… All morning last Monday I was criticized for not organising something special for Simona more quickly and I thought I’d be accused of being ignorant if I didn’t go hand her the key and then go – that was the plan – to hand her the key, to step back and let the show we’ve prepared go forward. I had no intention of staying at the event any longer. Now in hindsight we can say anything, and I can say that I should have been wiser or more cautious and should have organised a smaller ceremony either at the City Hall or somewhere else.”

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