France’s Expulsions Put Roma on Europe’s Agenda

France’s Expulsions Put Roma on Europe’s Agenda

Last week, the controversy over France's expulsions of illegal Roma immigrants reached a peak, when EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding implicitly compared the policy to those of Nazi Germany. Calling for legal action against France, Reding said, "Discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin or race has no place in Europe," adding, "I thought Europe would not have to witness [this] again after the Second World War."

Reding's remarks came after French media leaked an internal Interior Ministry memo from early August ordering the dismantling of 300 camps, with the Roma settlements singled out as "priority." The French government had previously claimed that the expulsions were being conducted on a case-by-case basis, without specifically targeting any ethnic group.

Reding subsequently apologized for her incendiary comparison, but not before French authorities responded with equally provocative remarks. President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly replied that if Reding and Luxembourg -- her country of origin -- felt so strongly about the Roma, then they should take them. As a result, the issue dominated last Thursday's EU Summit, where a heated and "virile" discussion reportedly took place between Sarkozyand EU Commission President Manuel Barroso. Although the tone was eventually lowered, Sarkozy insisted that the expulsions would proceed.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to WPR’s fully searchable library of 16,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news and analysis from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • The Weekly Wrap-Up email, with highlights of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review