Saturday, September 4, 2010
AND THE BEAT GOES ON
French Roma policy finds support among the far right
BY HONOR MAHONY
03/09/2010 - France's policy of expelling Roma to Romania and Bulgaria has attracted a storm of criticism at home and abroad from human rights groups and churches but has found support among some far-right politicians.
"The dismantling of illegal camps, the struggle against petty crime, criminality and prostitution, and the expulsion of foreigners with no legal earnings are perfectly legitimate in a democratic constitutional state," said the Belgian euro-deputy in a statement Thursday (2 September).
Getting rid of the Roma camps puts an end to "public order disturbance," he continued.
France's own far-right National Front also agrees with the deportations. Its leader Jean-Marie Le Pen described the situation as "a problem caused by the European Union opening the borders between European countries."
Meanwhile, the Irish Times reports that Hungary's far-right Jobbik party, which has three seats in the European Parliament and came third (with 17%) in the country's June elections, has unveiled an initiative calling for "anti-social" Roma in Hungary to be placed in special camps.
"We would force these families out of their dwellings. Then, yes, we would transport these families to public order protection camps," Mr Szegedi said.
"At these camps, there would be a chance to return to civilised society. Those who abandon crime, make sure their children attend school and participate in public works programmes, they can re-integrate," he added. Jobbik hopes to make big gains in October's local elections.
The situation of the Roma - the EU's largest ethnic minority - has been the subject of intense debate since France began its expulsions some four weeks ago.
It is part of a general security clampdown announced at the end of the July by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who for the first time also explicitly linked immigration and crime.
"We accept that these people are badly discriminated in their own country, but from 2014 there will be no possibility for Sarkozy to send them home, because they will have total rights of movement, all the transitional arrangements will have ended," he said in a debate on Thursday hosted by EUobserver.
Posted by Morgan at 10:56 AM