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

  • Freed 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

Europe

EU to launch legal action against France over Roma

©

Video by Sarah Dryhurst

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-09-29

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has told FRANCE 24 that Brussels will launch legal proceedings against France for breaching EU rules on freedom of movement during the country’s much criticised crackdown on Roma communities.

The European Union will begin infringement proceedings against France over the expulsion of Roma (Gypsies), EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding told FRANCE 24 on Wednesday.

"France is not enforcing European law on free movement as it should, so we are launching an infringement process against France," she said, adding that “if France changes its laws quickly, we will stop this procedure.”

The 2004 law outlines the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the EU member states.

France is among a number of countries accused of failing to translate EU rules on freedom of movement into national law.

Reding said France would be asked to provide proof to back its claims that its hard-line crackdown against Roma was legal.

Since July, France has triggered a flood of international outrage as illegal traveller camps were dismantled and more than 1,700 Roma were “repatriated”, mainly to Romania and Bulgaria.

Ten days ago Reding said she was “appalled” by France's actions, comparing them to World War II persecutions (for which she later apologised) and demanding swift legal action.

Legal action on discrimination a risky business

The EU had previously considered disciplinary action for discrimination, but this seems to have come off the agenda. Legal action in this regard would have carried huge risks for the European Commission.

In order to proceed, Reding would have needed an absolutely watertight case to persuade her colleagues to level a formal charge of discrimination (which is a violation of the European charter of fundamental rights).

Last week France argued that its actions were not discriminatory - despite a leaked government memo that mentioned Roma as the prime targets of plans to dismantle illegal camps.

The leaked memo, signed by Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux's chief of staff Michel Bart, outlined “specific objectives” for police forces.

It read: “Three hundred camps or illegal settlements must be cleared within three months, Roma camps are a priority.”

France argues that most of the illegal camps that were targeted for dismantlement by police were inhabited by travellers holding French nationality, and not Romanian or Bulgarian Roma.

It was the publication of the leaked memo that prompted Reding to threaten France with legal action.

France responded to Reding's announcement saying it would cooperate with the inquiry, while welcoming Brussels' decision not to investigate it for discrimination.

"The Commission accepted France's assurances that the measures taken have neither the aim nor the effect of targeting a specific 'minority' and that French authorities apply EU law in a non-discriminatory fashion," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"France will, of course, provide all necessary additional information, as it has already done up until now."
 

Date created : 2010-09-29

  • FRANCE

    Roma in France: Frequently asked questions

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)