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EU Commission assessing France's Roma action 'objectively'

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EU Commission assessing France's Roma action 'objectively'

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European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, attending UN talks in New York, tells euronews he sees his duty clearly concerning the investigation into France’s expulsions of Roma people.

Valérie Gauriat asks him how Europe is involved.

Valérie Gauriat, euronews:
Last week’s talks at the EU summit were overshadowed by the incidents with the French President.

José Manuel Barroso, European Commission President:
I’m not going to comment on that matter, that matter was…

euronews:
But is the Commission still planning to take legal action against France?

Barroso:
Look, we are making the assessment from a legal point of view, in a very objective and professional manner. That’s what we have to do, regarding all Member States. This is what we have to do, according to the Treaties, and we will do it!

euronews:
It’s quite rare that the Commission takes such a strong position against a Member State.

Barroso:
That’s our obligation! It’s our duty! We have a duty according to the Treaties, to make European law respected. It’s part of our function in the field of fundamental rights. When needed, we have to act, and in a very objective manner, because our Member States are democratic countries, based on the rule of law. There are also national systems, national courts where people can appeal. But we are considering the issues from a legal point of view in a very objective manner.

euronews:
Obviously the French President did not agree with this.

Barroso:
I’m not going out to add any more comments on that matter. I think this is not helpful. I just have to say that the Commission will always stand for the respect of European law. There are some political issues where we can decide on one side or another side, but in matters of respect for European law, the Commission has to act, to investigate if all the decisions taken by all Member States are done or not according to the law.