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French escape EU sanction over Roma purge

The European Commission has dropped infringement procedures against France, following Paris’s legally questionable campaign of expelling Romanian and Bulgarian Roma from its country

November 2010 - From the Print Edition

At the end of September, the Commission penalised France for failing to put in place adequate legislation that conforms to the EU’s 2004 Free Movement Directive.
However the Commission did not play the “race card” by sanctioning France for specifically targeting the Roma population.
Paris and Brussels have traded a war of words over President Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign of attack on illegal Roma settlements outside French towns.
Targeting ethnic Roma camps, this initiative culminated in the expulsion of hundreds of Roma from France to Romania and Bulgaria – a move which is technically illegal under EU law unless every one of them poses a threat to French public security.
In mid-October the French authorities succumbed to the Commission’s demands to revise their laws to align with the Free Movement Directive by drawing up draft legislation for passage in early 2011.
“This is proof of the good functioning of the European Union as a Community governed by the rule of law,” said EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding – who had previously labelled France’s purging of Romanian and Bulgarian Roma a “disgrace”. The European Commission will keep watch on the French commitments.
The EC will present an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies by April 2011.
This will be based on conclusions by the Roma platform and the Roma Task Force, which the Commission set up on 7 September 2010 to analyse the use of EU and member states’ national funds to tackle Roma inclusion.
The EU Framework will make proposals for a more effective implementation of EU funds in tackling Roma exclusion.

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