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France expels 8,000 Roma so far this year

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France expels 8,000 Roma so far this year


France remains defiant in the face of widespread criticism over its policy of deporting Roma gypsies and closing illegal camps.

More than 8,000 Roma have been sent back to Romania and Bulgaria this year so far and nearly 300 are flying back on Wednesday on two special flights.

The French interior minister Brice Hortefeux has already met two Romanian ministers in talks that will continue into a second day.

France believes the EU should put pressure on Romania and Bulgaria to spend some of the money they receive from Europe on tackling anti-Roma discrimination at home and better intergrating the community.

The European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding said she would investigate whether France’s policy contravenes the EU’s fundamental values.

She warned that the country’s actions had led to an escalation of rhetoric against Roma in other member states that could lead to persecution.

Italy declared a state of emergency and expelled thousands of Roma in 2008 while Germany expects to evict some 12,000 Roma to Kosovo this year.

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