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European Parliament Numbers Support Rights Of Roma …

  • October 5th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

european_parliament_brussel.jpgA panel of Members of the European Parliament has backed action by the European Commission against France over treatment of the Roma minority.

A report from the Parliament, documents proceedings of
an extraordinary joint meeting of its committees on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, and Employment and Social Affairs, on 29.9.10.

It says that “a large number of MEPs” gave their backing to the European Commission, when it initiated a procedure against the French government for failure to apply EU law on the free movement of persons.

The Commission was objecting to police actions in France to close down hundreds of camps of Roma, or gypsies, and deport many to Bulgaria or Romania –seen as a direct contradiction of the right of citizens to live and work in any EU member country. (See EUAustralia Online, “Trouble over Roma”, 31.7.10).

The European Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, took questions at the meeting.

Her action demands information from France on its activities, by 15.10.10, with the possibility of prosecution in the European Court, and possible heavy fines against the French state. (See EUAustralia Online, “Sarkozy’s trouble on two fronts …”, 15.9.10).

Conservative political leaders in France have reacted with some indignation; the President, Nicolas Sarkozy, got into arguments over it at the recent Brussels summit, with Reding, and with the EC President, Jose Manuel Barroso. (See EUAustralia Online, “Row over the Roma festers …”, 17.9.10).

At the Parliamentary committees, a French MEP asked why there had not been action against certain other countries in breach of the particular EU law, a Directive in place since 2006; and another, from Italy, demanded to know why France was not actually facing stronger action.

The report from the European Parliament points out it was the first institution to adopt a resolution calling on the Commission to look into possible infringements of EU law, following the start of the deportations in  France.

It quoted the Livia Járóka, from Hungary, the Parliament’s rapporteur on the inclusion of the Roma:  “I hope this will put an end to the debate and send a clear message to all Member States to take action … It is not just a French problem but a problem of the right to housing for a whole community.”


EP, Brussels, “Situation of Roma in Europe: MEPs quiz the Commission”, 30.9.10., (5.10.10).