EU threatens France with legal action over gypsies

– The European Union on Tuesday changed its position regarding French policy on expulsion of the Roma gypsy community announcing it will open an infringement procedure against France for discrimination.

A memo from the French Interior Ministry, dated August 5, recently made public, in which it specifically asks the police to dismantle the Roma camps, has pushed the European Commission into action.

“Discrimination by ethnicity or race has no place in Europe, it is incompatible with the values of the European Union (EU),” said European Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding in a statement to the press.

Reding seemed quite bothered by the fact that, in a meeting with two members of the French government on August 31st in Brussels, they assured her that the Parisian measures against Roma gypsies from other EU countries where taken full respecting Community rules and were not directed against any specific ethnic group.

The commissioner, stated it is “a shameful” situation, not only because of the discrimination but also due to the fact that the French government were stating one thing in Brussels, while stating something else in Paris.

“If we can not rely on the reassurance given by two ministers in a formal meeting, the EU’s job is placed in a very complicated situation,” she said.

Under these circumstances, she said she intends to recommend EU President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, “to expedite the process opening an infringement procedure so as to not lose any more time,” stated Reding.

According to Reding, France has been applying the European Directive on freedom of movement for EU citizens in a discriminatory fashion and it has not implemented in its national law all warranties included in the European standard.

“I am personally convinced that the Commission will have no choice but to initiate an infringement procedure against France,” she said.

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