The European Union’ has strongly condemned France’s
expulsions of Roma (Gypsies) ‘a disgrace’ and added that the deportations
probably breach European Union law. EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said she was appalled by the expulsions.
I am personally convinced that the commission will have no choice but
to initiate infringement procedures against France” for discriminatory
policies, she said.
France’s deportation of more than 1,000 Roma in the face of widespread international
condemnation has drawn further international disapproval in recent weeks.
Officials in France have attacked and dismantled over 100 Roma camps across
the country. France maintained that there was no formal policy that targetted
the deportation of Roma peoples as that act would be deemed illegal under European
law. France has consistently denied that the expulsions target an ethnic group,
saying they are done on a case-by-case basis.
This claim was swiftly exposed as a lie by the publication of a letter from
French Government officials who urged regional officials to explicitly target
Roma; and ordering them to speed up a crackdown on Roma camps.
Reding harshly criticized French authorities for telling the EU commission
it was not discriminating against Roma — a claim apparently contradicted
by the publication of the French government letter.
It is my deepest regret that political assurances given by two French
ministers is now openly contradicted,
In a stinging rebuke Reding added.
The role of the commissioners as guardians of the treaties is made extremely
difficult if we can no longer have confidence in the assurances given by two
ministers in a formal meeting with two commissioners and around 15 senior officials
on the table from both sides.
Reding was referring to France’s immigration minister, Eric Besson, and its
European affairs minister Pierre Lellouche. Besson denied any knowledge of the
reported Interior Ministry letter.
Commentating on today’s development, race campaigner Lee Jasper said:
The French Government has adopted a formal policy of racism that unfairly
and illegally targets Roma peoples. That is an act of state sponsored racism
with deeply sinister echoes of the policies of Nazi Germany. France stands condemned
by the majority of Europe
France should hang its head in shame. Sarkozy has embarked on a deceitful
campaign of targetting vulnerable ethnic minorities in a desperate effort to
deflect attention from his own shortcomings. The EU should now prosecute France
for serious human rights abuses.
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