Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Concerns grow as hobby drone use increases

Read more

WEB NEWS

Buffalo residents share stunning images of the snowstorm

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Senegalese photographer's flashbacks to Africans throughout history

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Hollande photographed with Julie Gayet on Elysée Palace balcony

Read more

REVISITED

Is Beirut still haunted by ghosts of the civil war?

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Band Aid 30 - Hit or Miss? Bob Geldof in Hot Water over Ebola Single

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Deal or No Deal with Iran? Home Stretch to Reach Historic Agreement

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Football scandals: The ugly side of the beautiful game

Read more

#THE 51%

Ending violence against women: The dangers of trial by Twitter

Read more

France

French National Front ally would 'concentrate' Gypsies in 'camps'

© AFP screengrab from a Canal+ broadcast

Text by Tony TODD

Latest update : 2014-03-05

A far-right mayoral candidate of Paris’s upmarket 6th arrondissement has apologised after writing on his blog that Roma (Gypsies) should be “concentrated” in “camps”.

Paul-Marie Coûteaux, a candidate for a fringe party linked to France’s anti-Europe and anti-immigration National Front (FN) party, likened the presence of Roma in Paris as an “invasion of lepers” that undermined the “aesthetic order” of the city.

“What can the interior minister do other than concentrate these foreign populations into camps where they would no doubt feel that life there was so far removed from their traveling lifestyle that they would rather leave such an inhospitable country,” he wrote in the February 19 blog post.

On Monday, French rights group SOS Racisme said it planned to start legal proceedings against Coûteaux “in the coming days” for his “disgusting” and “anti-republican” statements.

And on Tuesday, Coûteaux appeared to backtrack. In an interview with Metronews.fr, the former MEP and head of the CIEL (Sovereignty, Independence and Freedom) party which is allied to the FN insisted that his words had been misunderstood.

“If by using the word ‘camps’ people misinterpreted what I wrote then I am sorry,” he said. “I am a Catholic and a Gaullist … how could I possibly demand the creation of concentration camps in 2014?”

In the interview Côuteaux put forward two possible “solutions to deal with the Roma question”.

The first would be to “put these people in administrative detention centres” that are currently used to house illegal immigrants.

But he added: “I visited one of these centres while I was an MEP. It was awful, inhuman.”

Another “more rational, humane and reasonable” solution, he said, would be to “suspend the Schengen treaty” that allows for free movement across the European Union (most European Gypsies come from EU member states Romania and Bulgaria).

In an interview with French daily Le Parisien, Wallerand de Saint-Just, FN spokesman and candidate to become mayor of Paris in France’s local elections later in March, said it was “not his place” to criticise Côuteaux, even if he would “not have expressed himself in quite the same manner”.

Date created : 2014-03-04

  • FRANCE

    Ex-UN chief writes preface to French far-right politician’s book

    Read more

  • FRANCE-EUROPE

    French far-right candidate courts 9/11 controversy

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Black minister compared to a monkey - again

    Read more

COMMENT(S)