Friday

26th May 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."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

News in Brief

  1. Malloch will not be US ambassador to the EU
  2. 'Significant' drop in EU migration to UK
  3. Bomb injures former Greek PM
  4. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  5. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  6. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  7. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  8. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms