Not many know really who the “roma” are. In fact, there are two specific kinds of populations in Europe who look similarly.
The first are the so called "gypsies". They were nomad populations that, back in the history, came in Europe from Egypt. Their name is a deriving variant of the name of Egypt. They possibly passed mainly through the Balkan peninsula, as this is the closest way from Egypt across the Mediterranean sea to Europe, but Italy and Spain could be other passage spots. Their name has also other variations like "gyfti", "giupti", "gitans", "gitanos" etc. They are also know as "travelling people" ("gens de voyage") who live in tents, or today more often in cabanas, or mobile homes. These people, being travellers, have naturally spread throughout Europe. They have not always a good fame, as they live in odd conditions, but they can often be seen doing small businesses, usually as wardrobe or junk dealers or ambulant traders of fruits and vegetables, or simply unqualified workers.
The other specific kind of population is the so called "tzigane", those who, back in the history, came in Europe from India. Historically they are descendants of the caste of the "untouchables" in their natal India. Their way to Europe passed through the territories of today's Pakistan, Iran and Minor Asia (today's Turkey), to appear in South-Eastern Europe which is the Balkan peninsula. The first place they appeared was Byzantium (situated basically over the Balkan peninsula, today's Greece and Bulgaria), where Greek was the official language. Their description as the "untouchables" was translated into Greek, the word for which is "athingani" or "atsingani" (αθίγγανοι, ατσίγγανοι). This word became their name everywhere they went further in Europe, especially Eastern and partially Western Europe. Still nowadays they are known in most European countries as "tsigani", "tzigane", "zigeuner", "tsigoina", "tsigovine" and other versions of the word. So in fact, that word is the Greek translation of their original name "untouchables", pronounced accordingly in other languages. They are mostly met in countries like Bulgaria, Romania, the former Yugoslavian republics, Hungary, former Czecho-Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Poland, Russia, but also in Greece, Italy, France, Spain and elsewhere.
This population was always known as extreme poverty humans leaving in neighbourhoods of small cabins made of waste materials. They were also known as a population refusing, during centuries, to integrate the local societies, people refusing to send their children to schools, individuals having no education, no professional skills. They also have the bad fame of thieves, knifemen, etc. Often they are involved in criminal activity varying from theft, prostitution to even exposing children of minor age to child prostitution. From the past they also have the fame of child-kidnappers. In the Middle-Age they were well known with their "activity" of kidnapping children, then bringing them up in odd circumstances, to provoke deformations to their bodies (like growing in a clay amphora, or cutting out their lips, noses, or ears, etc.) then selling them to travelling circus troupes or the likes. This has even been described in literature works, such as Victor Hugo's "The man who laughs", among other.
These "tsigane" people in a given moment decided that they must have a "king" and few tsigane "kings" appeared here or there in Europe. In addition, they adopted a different name for themselves, so, after a given moment, they started representing themselves as "rom" or "roma", or "romane". It is not clear how this name came in use, since it has no relation in any way with the Romans of the Roman empire or Romios (ρωμιός) of the Byzantine empire in the past. It possibly may be related to the fact that a very large number of "tzigane" populations live in Rumania.
Today the so called "roma" or "tzigane" people are considered "europeans". Problems appeared when considerable numbers of them left the East-European countries after the fall of the communist regimes there, and especially, after these countries joined the European Union. Those "tzigane" populations were among the waves of migrants coming from these countries. In the years 2009 and 2010 problems started appear, when the "tzigane" people provoked conflicts and protests with their style of life from the rest of the European citizens and also with some expulsions from Italy and France. Questions and debates arise, turning around the point, if they are Europeans, why don't they have the common behaviour of Europeans. Also, to illustrate the mood in one of the countries where the main part of "tzigane" come from, here's a citing of a typical saying by the people in Bulgaria: Do we Bulgarians have to work till our death in order that the "tsigani" live a whole life without working? End of citing.
Generally, these two populations of "gypsies" and "tzigane" are confused by the rest of the European people. It's possible that there have been mixtures between "gypsy" and "tzigane" people. It's also possible that they alone don't know much of their origins, as they are populations with generally very low or non existing level of education. Despite all that, as strange as it can seem, in some cases, persons of "tzigane" origin have exceptionally become well educated and highly respected or known for a particular talent. One example, respectful cardiologist surgeon Prof. Dr. Chirkov, who is widely known internationally and who also practiced in Germany, is of "tzigane" origin from Bulgaria.