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Berlin shares EU concerns about French Roma deportations

AFP · 15 Sep 2010, 16:46

Published: 15 Sep 2010 16:46 GMT+02:00

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"Freedom of movement within the EU applies without conditions, ethnic minorities should not be discriminated against ... and basic rights apply," government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular briefing.

"If the European Commission now wants to examine whether events in France are in accord with this, then it has the perfect right to do so, and the commissioner has the perfect right to make a statement, as she did yesterday," he said.

"Of course such statements are sometimes more useful when they are made using a more measured tone."

German government officials said meanwhile that Berlin saw the controversy as a bilateral issue between France and the Commission and that the expulsions were not on the agenda for discussion at an EU summit starting Thursday.

France has been under fire for weeks over President Nicolas Sarkozy's drive to deport Roma, previously called Gypsies, living in travelling communities in France back to Romania and Bulgaria, and Paris now faces the threat of European legal action.

On Tuesday, Reding sparked consternation in Paris after comparing the expulsions with the fate of millions of Roma and Jews in German-occupied Europe in World War II.

Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung daily reacted furiously, saying in an editorial that Reding should either apologise or resign "before she causes serious damage to relations between Brussels and Paris."

"One would have hoped that the commissioner responsible for justice in the EU would know the difference between the extermination of ethnic minorities in World War II and deporting unwanted guests and giving them a few hundred euros," the paper said.

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"If she had stopped to reflect a little bit she might even perhaps have also realised that Europe's post-war history has not been free of persecuting minorities either."

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Your comments about this article

00:55 September 16, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, the EU Concept does have benefits. But I'm sure most of you agree that it has serious flaws. The fact is, it takes an extraordinary amount of intelligence to establish a successful world government organization. The first failure was the League of Nations. And then the UN was designed to replace it. But the UN has created more problems than it has solved.

Here is the truth about all things. If a concept, or way of life is not based upon the Efficient-Conservative Equation, then surely it will eventually fail.
09:08 September 16, 2010 by mexican.wav
I feel Reading made a just comparison. It is a minority becoming the scapegoat of the government once again. I dont see it as a slight on Germany and I don't think they should take offence to this comment. She obviously wanted to draw attention to the fact that this is a serious human rights breach on Frances part
11:25 September 16, 2010 by catjones
what's to prevent these 'Romas' from returning to France? I thought the borders were gone in the EU.
11:58 September 16, 2010 by tallady
The Schengen Convention,which is the agreement concerning freedom of movement with in the EU ,does not include Romania and Bulgaria until 2011.These folks are not legal immigrants ,i doubt the EU can do much about it at this time.

I have seen the "Roma" camps in Italy ,not a pretty sight..I think if you resided near one of Roma Camps you could develop a negative attitude towards them but of course this does not apply to everyone.I think a program for residents to adopt a Roma would be a good idea,,,,(:-)
15:09 September 16, 2010 by Johnne
@Logic guy. which flaws does the EU have? oh! it has flaws now when it´s an ethnic minority issue right? it has flaws when Sharkozy or Sarkozy (who is an immigrant himself with Hungarian parents) is deporting Roma? EU Citizens! EU is EU, no duplicates and forgeries about it. Maybe you don´t know but the EU means European Union and the Roma are part of it. They are Europeans, I´m sure the Greeks will still be suspended from the EU because they´re dark, & of course going through economic problems..it´s the same old story!DISCRIMINATION+ RACISM= NAZISM! People should change their mentality.
16:58 September 16, 2010 by tallady
Latest poll confirms public support for deportations of Roma

Le Figaro leads this morning with an Opinionway poll showing two out of three French citizens are in favour of the Government's policies regarding the Roma.

It appears from the French polls taking by Le Figaro, that most disagreement comes from outside of France and Italy, the 2 western European countries with the highest Roma population.

I would assume its easier to be outraged when you are not dealing directly with the problem
19:39 September 16, 2010 by Prufrock2010
tallady wrote:

"Latest poll confirms public support for deportations of Roma"

Since when are human rights determined by opinion polls?
23:49 September 16, 2010 by wxman
If they are citizens, this should not be an issue.
09:58 September 17, 2010 by john.m
This is the first time I dare to write a comment, and after reading and "recomending" some of the comments, I also want to say something. The first time I went to Romania, I have been told by some friends to be careful, and told stories about how gypsies behave.

I always though, well, can it really be that bad? For my surprise, yes, it was, and even worse as I heard. After travelling through the country, and other eastern countries, it was the same with them. I completely understood they are a group not willing to integrate, to study and progress, and simply keep their traditions and living standards.

Due to their abuse of asylum requests, now Czech citizens have travel restrictions to Canada. How many other countries need to follow? How should pay for their ¦quot;integration¦quot;. If you ask me, for sure not me and my taxes.
10:02 September 17, 2010 by tallady
Prufrock..Do they have a right to be there?,are they Legal immigrants or not?? The French say they are not ,but I assume Human Rights trump Legal rights.You are a lawyer,and I am sure you know all there is to know about "Rights" Right...
02:06 September 18, 2010 by Prufrock2010
tallady --

Yes, I am a lawyer and yes, I know something about rights. Not everything, by any means, so save the snarky comments. Romania is part of the EU and therefore I believe that the Roma have a right to be in a country that is part of the EU, as much as I personally dislike their lifestyle and habits. But that will be up to the EU courts to decide, not public opinion polls.
09:21 September 18, 2010 by tallady
"Snarky" Oh Prufrock,you win the prize for that,hands down,why do you feel you are the only person that should make "snarky " remarks, You always want to baffle us with your BS, Romania,Bulgaria do not have freedom of movement until 2011. Go live beside a "Roma "Camp" then tell us about Human Rights,who's rights !. It,s a lot easier to pass out your judgement on others from your lofty perch here in Berlin.! The public opinion polls prove that people ,having a chance to vote ,most likely would cast it for the conservative candidate as opposed to the Liberal one.That could bring about some change or as in France,s case give support to Sarkosy. These people set up camp and increase the crime rate 100 fold and drive the families out that are "Legal Residents" but "Human Rights" wins,They do not integrate. period,oh ya there is the exception or two out there, I am sure. These camps regularly teach their children to steal, to con others. I was on the bus in Rome and 8 or 10 young girls and boys surrounded me put their hands my into my under garments ,took my money my passport and fled,You can not hit children so there was no defense. The Embassy stated this occurs 20 to 30 times a week ,that passports are stolen this way. What about the rights of the citizens that work,pay taxes teach their children good behavior and add to the good of the country they live in and are "Legal Residents.I hope my Gov. would provide me with some security, from such people.as France has. They refuse the opportunity of an education more than they accept it .They almost never work for wages,agriculture is open to employment..maybe this is harder that stealing from others you do not know or want to know . I and many others are sick and tired of being accosted by persons that are protected buy "Human Rights and liberal lawyers sitting in there offices having tea, and talking about how victimized the Roma are. And then you can not believe why people turn to conservative politicians ,and the tea parties that occur now in your own country..watch and see what happens there in November......
10:20 September 18, 2010 by Prufrock2010
If you're "baffled by my BS," you're either easily baffled or you have a reading disability, or both. I posed a simple non-rhetorical question: Since when are human rights determined by opinion polls? Rather than answer that question, you go on a tautological rant about how people are sick and tired of being accosted by these social outcasts, implying that human rights don't apply to the Roma. Yes, we all know that they don't integrate, don't assimilate, don't obey the laws, steal, pick pockets and exploit children. I mentioned that I personally dislike their lifestyle and habits. That doesn't mean that I think they should be denied the basic human rights of citizens of the EU or any other place where they reside. When they violate the law they should be prosecuted, just like everyone else, rather than being banished from society. Apparently the European Commission agrees with me.

So you had your pocket picked on a bus in Rome. Poor thing. You and just about every other tourist in Rome who is stupid enough to take the bus after being warned about pickpockets. I have been accosted by Gypsies in Rome, Milan, Paris and yes, even in Germany. It is annoying, aggravating and a little scary, but that doesn't mean I think they should be banished to concentration camps, deported or marginalized out of existence. They should be prosecuted.

People in my (former) country are not turning to conservative politicians. They are turning to reactionary whack jobs like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Rand (let's repeal the 14th amendment) Paul, Sharon Angle, Christine O'Donnell and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer who trade in hate, racism and xenophobia. If the lunatic fringe tea party candidates win any elections in November, it will be the demise of the Republican party in America and maybe the demise of the Republic altogether. But I submit that if the people are stupid enough to follow Glenn Beck into the mother ship and elect these crazies, they will get exactly what they deserve -- an asylum run by the inmates. As I don't live there anymore, I can only watch this trainwreck from afar with interest and bemusement. If the people of that country want to destroy it, let them. In fact, you might want to join them. I really don't care.
11:42 September 18, 2010 by tallady
I now realize my mistake,Prufock

I give you the opportunity for more of your condesending pontificating. It would figure giving your remarks an attitude that you are a "former American". You would not want to go back and make it better ,giving your gloom and doom crap..Stay here.,,they most likely dont miss you anyway
00:48 September 19, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Your personal attacks are unbecoming and do nothing to advance your so-called "argument," but they are typical of a certain American mentality that made my decision to expatriate much easier. However, I'm glad that you realize your mistake and hope that you have learned something from it.
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