French President Nicolas Sarkozy has given little indication among EU leaders today of any human rights heat under his collar.
His manner on arrival for a European Union summit in Brussels did not reflect discomfort from a hail of international human rights condemnation for his government’s policy of expelling Roma gypsies.
The European Commission is walking on eggs after a senior official — Luxembourg’s Viviane Reding, the EU Commissioner for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship — drew parallels between France’s hard line on Roma migrants and ethnic persecutions in WWII.
France lashed out, defending its conduct as above reproach.
But it still risks EU legal action over its drive to deport ethnic Roma living in travelling communities in France back to Romania and Bulgaria.
An EU founder member, France claims a historic pride of place as a bastion of human rights.
The summit’s original agenda centres on economics and EU external affairs.