Saturday

21st Apr 2018

France kicks out Roma, again

  • French authorities dismantled a Roma camp near Lille on Thursday (9 August). (Photo: Council of Europe)

Roma in France’s northern city of Lille were expelled from their camps over the weekend as police dismantled the settlements, despite promises by President Francois Hollande to end the practice.

The police raids started early Thursday (9 August) morning with 240 others, previously evicted from camps in Lyon, "voluntarily" leaving on flights to Romania on the same day. Each adult returned to Romania received €300 and each child €100.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

France's interior minister Manuel Valls claims the camps are unsanitary and pose a public health risk. The minister said each individual’s case was evaluated by French authorities before being returned to Romania, reported Reuters.

Rights organisations say France must abide by its commitments under international human rights laws to provide alternative accommodation and that it must respect the European Union rules on freedom of movement.

Veronika Szente Goldston, Europe and Central Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said the raids had left 60 children without any homes and that France’s latest evictions are contrary to Hollande’s pledge in April to abolish discriminatory measures against Roma populations.

“Hollande’s promises to end discrimination against Roma couldn’t ring more hollow in the wake of this week’s events,” Szente Goldston said in a statement.

HRW says France’s 2011 immigration law specifically targets eastern European Roma and lists, as grounds for expulsion, repeated short stays and the intent to benefit from its social welfare system.

The rights group claim authorities are evicting the Roma on the “mere presumption” that they could eventually receive the social benefits.

Some people have questioned whether or not the returns are voluntary.

The Budapest-based European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), an organisation that monitors the rights of Roma, said in a statement that the “repatriations are carried out following forced evictions, under situations of high stress for individuals and communities, and as such cannot be considered voluntary".

A similar campaign to expel the Roma to Romania and Bulgaria in 2010 under Nicolas Sarkozy led to a diplomatic row with Brussels once it was revealed that the French were officially targeting the ethnic group.

"Discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin or race has no place in Europe," said EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding at the time.

Nearly 10,000 were removed from the territory in a campaign that started in August 2010, according to the ERRC. The human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, later noted that the voluntary returns amounted to forced collective expulsion.

For its part, the European Commission said it is closely monitoring the evictions and has requested further information from the French authorities to ensure they are complying to EU rules.

France considers easing Roma work restrictions

French minister of interior Manuel Valls announced on Thursday that France would consider introducing a Roma work-related insertion programme when ministers meet next week to discuss the issue.

Opinion

France needs to stop Roma evictions

Despite pre-election promises, the government of French President Francois Hollande continues to destroy Roma settlements and to expel Roma people.

EU takes step closer to 'posted workers' deal

Negotiators from the member states, EU Parliament and Commission reached a 'common understanding' to guarantee equal pay for equal work in the EU. They hope to reach a final agreement in June.

Magazine

A sustainable death wish

No one can escape death. But choices over how one's body is disposed of could either lessen or increase your carbon footprint.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists