Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • LIVE: French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • French journalist tells of release from captivity in Syria

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • In pictures: Good Friday celebrated across the globe

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

France

France hits back at EU criticism of Roma expulsions

©

Video by Fiona CAMERON

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-09-15

France’s presidency has reacted angrily to EU criticism of its Roma policy, saying comments made by European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding were "unacceptable".

AP - President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office fired back Wednesday at European Commission criticism of France’s crackdown on Gypsies, or Roma, saying some of the complaints are unacceptable.

A day earlier, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding called France’s expulsions of Roma to Eastern Europe “a disgrace” - something she had thought Europe would not have to witness again after World War II.
 
The exchange heightened tensions between France and the European Union a day before a summit of EU leaders Thursday in Brussels. Sarkozy’s office said the issue of the Roma was not on the agenda for talks.
 
Harsh words from Viviane Reding
French authorities have recently dismantled more than 100 illegal camps and sent home more than 1,000 Roma, mainly back to Romania, in a crackdown that has drawn international condemnation. Sarkozy has called Roma camps sources of crime such as illegal trafficking and child exploitation.
 
A senior official at the presidential palace said France doesn’t want an argument with the commission but “some of the comments are simply unacceptable.” He declined to be named, in line with office policy.
 
After a Cabinet meeting, government spokesman Luc Chatel also objected to Reding’s remarks, saying, “It is unacceptable to compare the situation today with a tragic period in our history.”
 
“I fear that such positions ... will only widen the gap between the French people and the European institutions,” he said.
 
Chatel said he believed Reding had been expressing her personal beliefs, but Commission spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde said Reding had been speaking for the entire commission.
 
In an act of solidarity with the Roma, an umbrella group of black associations in France, CRAN, said it would file a complaint against the Interior Ministry for “inciting racial hatred.”
 
The complaint is based on a government letter sent this summer to regional officials and telling them that Roma camps were the priority in a nationwide sweep to dismantle illegal squatters’ quarters.
 
The blunt letter, made public last week, shocked many people in France, where officials are supposed to be blind to race, religion and ethnicity. Speaking on RTL radio Wednesday, Pierre Lellouche, France’s European affairs minister, acknowledged the letter “shouldn’t have been written like that.”
 
Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux’s office said he had issued a new letter on the subject to the regional officials Monday - one that did not include any reference to Roma.
 
Roma face discrimination in housing, jobs and education across Europe. As EU citizens, they have a right to travel to France, but must get papers to work or live there in the long term.
 
As many as 15,000 Roma live in France, according to the advocacy group Romeurope. French authorities have no official estimate.

Date created : 2010-09-15

  • FRANCE

    EU justice chief calls for legal action over Roma 'disgrace'

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Government document cites French effort to target Roma

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Roma in France: Frequently asked questions

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)