Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

ENCORE!

Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday : The Best of the Bard

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

The Tour de France, a PR machine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    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)