EU Threatens France over Roma Expulsion
The European Union is beginning infringement proceedings against France for expelling more than 8,000 Roma migrants earlier this year.
European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding announced on Wednesday that though France was not being investigated over discrimination, it would have to provide evidence EU laws on the freedom of movement had been incorporated into national statutes.
[Viviane Reding, European Commissioner]:
„You know that the commission is the guardian of the treaty and it has to make sure that the European law is applied in the national law and in the practice of such, and the commission has found that France has not properly applied in its French law, the procedural guarantees which are foreseen for all EU citizens in the European directives. And that is why this needs to be corrected and that is why we have acted.“
Facing widespread criticism, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the expulsions were part of a crackdown on crime and vagrant camps and did not specifically target the Roma.
Residents of the camps hope the EU will pressure France to let them stay.
[Stefan Ion, Roma]:
„We want to stay here, we live better here because in Romania we have no housing and it is not possible to live well. Here we can go to hospital. We are not lazy alcoholics, but it is not possible for us to work here. But the facilities here for us are better than in Romania.“
France has until October 15 to demonstrate how and when it will comply with EU laws on freedom of movement.