The European Parliament today demanded the “immediate suspension” of Roma expulsions by the French government.
The vote was co-sponsored by Europe’s leftwing, Green, and Liberal parties, with the right voting against and over 50 MEPs abstaining.
France has been widely condemned for cracking down on illegal Roma campsites and settlements and forcibly ejecting, then expelling Roma groups after President Nicolas Sarkozy accused them of being responsible for a rise in delinquency around France.
However opinion polls suggest most French people support his tough stance. The policy faced a challenge on the Belgian frontier today, however, where a lawyer supervised three Roma leaving the country, thus respecting an expulsion order, but then immediately re-entering from an EU member state.
The lawyer claims ^this is perfectly legal, and they would be entitled to stay, although they would not be allowed to work. He added it underlined government policy was more about headline-grabbing than fighting poverty or crime.