French President Nicolas Sarkozy is fighting to limit his isolation among EU leaders today. A battery of international human rights condemnation is trained on his government for its expulsion of Roma gypsies.
Sarkozy arrived this morning for a European Union summit in Brussels hastening to make the personal rounds before getting down to business, but he and Luxembourg’s Prime minister Jean Claude Juncker appeared to keep their distance.
The European Commission is walking on eggs after a senior official — Luxembourg’s Viviane Reding, the EU Commissioner for Justice — drew parallels between France’s hard line on Roma migrants and WWII ethnic persecution.
France has defended its stature as irreproachable, but still risks EU legal action over its controversial drive to deport ethnic Roma living in travelling communities in France back to Romania and Bulgaria.
An EU founder member, France is fiercely proud of its historic legacy as the home of human rights.