Providing Roma children with better access to education is key to avoiding problems in the future, according to Europe’s Justice Commissioner.
Viviane Reding, who is also a European Commission vice president, believes their living conditions will worsen unless definitive action is taken now.
Speaking on French state radio, she said: “If we can’t manage to educate these children, if we can’t provide them a normal job, it will be another lost generation.”
“Our generation is responsible for making sure that illegal camps cease to exist and provide some normal housing for these people, for making sure that the girls don’t give birth at 12 years of age, and that the children go to school normally, so that instead of hanging around in the street they are at work and are useful for society and the public,” she added.
Last month, the European Commission said it was keeping a close watch on France to ensure it was respecting EU regulations on the free movement of people within its borders after police launched raids on illegal camps and deported hundreds of Roma.