Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Eve Ensler: 'In The Body Of The World'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Ed Husain, Author of 'The Islamist'

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Pakistan: Imran Khan, from the cricket field to politics

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'iVIOLATED'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad considers fresh offer for T-Mobile

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to school!

Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • French clubs left behind as others spend big

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Boko Haram Islamists seize northeast Nigerian town

    Read more

  • Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    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

COMMENT(S)