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France expels first Roma gypsies to Romania

France expels first Roma gypsies to Romania
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Dozens of Roma gypsies have arrived back in Romania after being expelled from France.

French authorities repatriated at least 70 Roma on Thursday under a controversial new policy backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The French government says it will shut down 300 illegal Roma camps in the next three months.

French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux called on the European Union to do more for the integration of Gypsies.

“I am waiting for the European Commission to show that it is capable of facilitating the Roma’s access to education, jobs and apartments,” he said.

The Roma are EU citizens, mostly from Romania or Bulgaria, but French law requires them to have a work permit and prove they can support themselves if they want to stay for more than three months.

They complain permits are difficult to get, and so they are forced to live illegally.

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