At Paris’s main airport the first group of Roma prepared to leave France. They were part of the 79 who are due to fly out to Bucharest amidst growing criticism of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s stance.
He ordered the closure of 300 Roma camps as part of a wider law-and-order crackdown. Each adult is being given 300 euros and 100 euros for every child they take with them.
Eric Besson, the French Immigration Minister said:
“We have set up a biometric data base in order to avoid these people coming back again and again, this will ensure that those who have already received a payment cannot receive it again.”
The action to repatriate the Roma is being scrutinised by the European Union to ensure France respects the bloc’s rules, said a spokesman who stressed the expulsions must be done on a case-by-case basis.
Two Romanian officials are due to visit Paris at the end of the month to discuss the situation with the foreign ministry.