Sarkozy Expels Roma

What is affected
Housing private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 01 January 2009
Region E [ Europe ]
Country France
Location nation-wide

Affected persons

Total 16188
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution


Forced eviction

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative E.U. Casts Legal Doubt on French Roma Expulsion By STEPHEN CASTLE The legality of France’s crackdown on Roma migrants was thrown into doubt Wednesday when a report from the European Commission said that French law lacked minimum safeguards required by the European Union to protect deportees. The document from the European Union’s executive body, obtained by the International Herald Tribune, highlighted failings in France’s law and pointedly declined to endorse the French government’s actions, which have led to thousands of deportations. The report said that expulsions could be judged legal only if certain conditions were met, including a thorough, case-by-case assessment of each individual’s situation. France was also warned against any measure that singled out a specific ethnic group or amounted to a collective expulsion of Roma. Though the commission’s analysis was careful not to make any overall judgment on the expulsions, the document suggested that the action might not be in line with E.U. law. Ultimately, France could face legal action if it fails to satisfy the commission that it is obeying European legislation. The emergence of the document comes after France’s crackdown on unauthorized camps of Roma migrants this summer provoked heavy criticism, both inside the French government and from other countries. The United Nations and immigrant advocacy groups have criticized France for breaking up the camps and returning Roma to Romania and Bulgaria. The French authorities deported 283 Roma last week, bringing the total number of Romanian and Bulgarian Roma expelled so far this year to 8,313, compared with 7,875 sent home in all of 2009. Some left voluntarily after being given cash payments. French officials declined to comment on the document, which was prepared for European commissioners but has not been published. Further, technical, discussions between E.U. and French officials are scheduled for Friday. But on Tuesday, Éric Besson, the French minister for immigration and integration, said that European law had been respected “scrupulously” and that deportations were in line with European rules allowing for the free circulation of citizens within the 27-nation bloc. Those expelled were targeted because they posed a threat to public order, he said after a meeting with European officials in Brussels. “No collective expulsions were undertaken,” he added. Rob Kushen, executive director of the European Roma Rights Center, said that the emergence of the document, which he had not seen, appeared to vindicate the complaints of advocacy groups. It suggested, he added, “that the French are not abiding by E.U. requirements.” Described as an interim report, the document criticized France over the way it applied European legislation that was passed in 2004 and is designed to guarantee free movement to the bloc’s citizens. Each E.U. member state is required to write such laws into its own national legislation, but the way this was done was “not satisfactory” in some countries, including France, said the document, which was signed by three European commissioners: Viviane Reding, Laszlo Andor and Cecilia Malmstrom. “When deciding about expulsions,” the report said, “the French legislation does not explicitly refer to the obligation of examining all the individual circumstances (e.g. length of stay, age, health, family situation, link to the level of integration in the host Member State).” The commission is seeking “detailed information from the French authorities on whether and to which extent the safeguards required by the Free Movement Directive have been applied in the recent cases.” It also wants further information about voluntary repatriations in which those deported received cash payments. The fact that a lump sum is paid out is, according to a preliminary analysis, “not sufficient for taking these returns out of the scope of the E.U.’s free movement principles.” While the law agreed to in 2004 guarantees the right of E.U. citizens to live in other member nations, those who threaten public order or security can be sent back to their own country. “It is clear that all individuals who break the law need to face the consequences,” the document said. “It is equally clear that nobody should face expulsion just for being Roma.” Before deportation there must first be a “case-by-case assessment,” the decision must be in writing, fully justified and open to appeal, and E.U. citizens must be given at least one month to leave. Roma represent the largest ethnic minority group in the European Union, with a population of 10 million to 12 million in the 27 member nations and those that are potential candidates to join, according the European Commission. A survey in 2009 found that half of all Roma respondents said they had experienced discrimination in the previous year and that one-fifth said they had been the victim of a racially motivated crime. Though substantial amounts of money are available from the European Union to help integrate Roma, some eligible countries have no p?`VioId ?VioAuthorrograms. (Source:, 1 September 2010) See also: Orders to police on Roma expulsions from France leaked, at, 13 September 2010.
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