The European Commission has been accused of failing to protect members of the Roma community deported from France. Nearly a thousand people have been sent to Romania and Bulgaria since July in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s highly-controversial operation. Euro MPs want to know if Paris has broken any laws, warning that other countries might take similar action.
In his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the rights of the 12-million-strong Roma community must be protected, and that racism and xenophobia have no place in Europe. However, he made no explicit mention of France itself, and critics accused him of a whitewash.
“Are you keeping the report hidden away?” demanded Euro Greens leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit. “You should say clearly and openly that what France is doing is against European treaties. It is really quite simple.”
There is support for the Roma: Socialists, Liberal, Communists and the Greens in the European parliament will present a resolution today, demanding France suspend the expulsions. They say the EU has acted too little, too late.