Thursday

17th Aug 2017

Romania wants France to stop Roma expulsions

  • Tense moment: Traian Basescu (r) telling Nicolas Sarkozy (l) to stop Roma expulsions at the EU summit last week (Photo: Council of European Union)

Romanian President Traian Basescu told his French counterpart at last week's summit to "try to stop" Roma expulsions, but the President Nicolas Sarkozy gave him an "unclear response."

Speaking to foreign journalists in Bucharest on Wednesday (22 September), Mr Basescu said he urged Mr Sarkozy last week in Brussels to "try and stop the process of expelling Roma."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

"The answer was unclear but we decided to talk this over during a meeting in the coming weeks," he added.

"Romania will always defend the Roma's right to move freely in Europe. They are European citizens and as long as there is no evidence they broke the law they should enjoy the same rights of any European citizen."

More than 1,000 Romanian and Bulgarian Roma have been expelled since Mr Sarkozy ordered a clampdown on "illegal camps" in late July, a move which sparked international outrage and put Paris on a collision course with Brussels.

"It was an amicable discussion; maybe we both gesticulate a lot ... We have a friendly relationship," Mr Basescu explained after the Romanian press printed pictures of the two leaders seemingly engaged in a disagreement.

Bucharest has so far failed to take any clear-cut position on the Roma dispute in a bid not to upset France, a long-standing ally.

It maintains that the only solution for integrating Europe's most populous and poorest ethnic minority is a strategy at EU level. Expulsions can only be a "momentary solution," Mr Basescu said.

Romania has 1.5 million Roma, out of which only some 500,000 are "nomads." The rest do not even declare their ethnicity. The problem with the nomadic Roma is that they lack education and professional skills, the Romanian President said.

Romania's parliament on Wednesday also moved to condemn France for a "serious violation" of its citizens' rights.

"The House of representatives and the Senate noted with concern the recent actions of the French authorities and of other European states against groups of ethnic Roma who are Romanian citizens and have been either expelled or repatriated," the Parliament said in its official statement.

It said the expulsions took place in a context of "discriminatory actions" and welcomed the EU commission's threat to take Paris to court over this policy. "We consider that these actions constitute a serious violation of citizens' rights and freedom," it added.

The commission is expected to decide on September 29 whether to take France to court over failure to comply with EU law.

According to AFP, Paris has sent Brussels a paper suggesting that an earlier government memo dated 5 August, which urged police to target Roma camps, does not constitute discrimination.

Meanwhile, Spanish premier Jose Rodriguez Zapatero has joined the pro-Sarkozy camp, limited so far to Italy's Silvio Berlusconi.

"They haven't been deported because of their ethnic origin," he told the Wall Street Journal. "The measures were adopted within the rule of law. Integration principles must work, but also public order must be respected in suburban settlements lacking sanitary or security conditions."

Parents of EU children win right to stay

Countries cannot automatically refuse residence to parents of EU children simply because the other parent could care for the minor, the EU's top court ruled on Wednesday.

EU parliament shelves NGO funding proposal

The report, which aimed to improve scrutiny on the EU's financing of civil society, was postponed after Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, compared it to a controversial Hungarian bill.

Europeans more optimistic about EU since Brexit vote

Perceptions of the EU have increased significantly in France, and Europeans generally feel more optimistic about the future of the bloc since last autumn - despite Brexit and a surge in populism.

News in Brief

  1. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  2. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  3. Russian power most feared in Europe
  4. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  5. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  6. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns
  7. Danish police to investigate misuse of EU fishing rules
  8. German constitutional court questions ECB's €2tn spending

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides