Tuesday, September 07, 2010

France / Roma

Europe Accuses Nicolas Sarkozy of Roma Gipsy "Witch-Hunt" 
By Bruno Waterfield
The Telegraph, September 7, 2010
Photo: "Thousands of people took to the streets in Marseilles to protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy." (AP)
"Nicolas Sarkozy hoped his plan to expel the Roma would help his faltering presidency back on track. But it has made him even more enemies.  During a debate in the European parliament, MEPs expressed grave concerns over Mr. Sarkozy's policy or returning the Roma from illegal camps to Eastern Europe. Social Democrat, Labour and Liberal MEPs will vote on Thursday a European Parliament resolution condemning the French President's policy to expel Bulgarian and Romanian gipsies. A draft text expresses 'deep concern regarding the recent measures taken by the French government to repatriate and return thousands of Roma EU citizens to their countries of origin.' MEPs also criticised the European Commission for failing to enforce freedom of movement rights for EU citizens. Martin Schulz, the German leader of Social Democrat MEPs accused President Sarkozy of carrying out 'a witch-hunt against a minority' in order to boost his flagging popularity at a time of economic crisis. He accused José Manuel Barroso, the Commission President of 'kowtowing' to Mr Sarkozy by not enforcing rules allowing EU citizens freedom of movement. Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian Prime Minister and leader of Liberal MEPs, said: 'What's taking place in France is unacceptable, and unfortunately is not an isolated case. Several governments while confronted with the difficulties of the economic crisis, are sliding towards populism, xenophobia, and racism.' France has expelled more than 1,000 gipsies in the past month, bringing the total this year to more than 8,000. The expulsions have been condemned in France and abroad. [...]"

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