France's new immigration policy has forced thousands of Roma gypsies to flee, their camps smashed and with 300 Euros' reparation. Unwilling to return to the discrimination faced in Romania, many are faced with a centuries-old problem.
France's pass-the-buck attitude is nothing new, but under EU law, it's simply not going to cut it. Says the EU's Justice Minister of France's draconian expulsion policy (which enjoys popular support), "No member state can expect special treatment when fundamental values and European laws are at stake. I am personally convinced that the commission will have no choice but to initiate infringement procedures against France." Yet, for now, the Roma have been expelled and many have moved on to Germany and the UK rather than make their homes in refugee camps around Eastern Europe. And while the EU has granted Roma membership and freedom of movement, more needs to be done. Says Sky news,
There are an estimated 12 million Roma in Europe and their number is rapidly increasing.Some feel that could spell disaster for the country's economic future, with the badly-educated Roma existing on the margins of society. The EU and its individual states are now under pressure to provide more financial assistance and better education programmes.
The Roma still face widespread discrimination across Europe, but the French action prompted protests across Europe.
Nevertheless, France is plowing ahead: yesterday, The Guardian reported that even the Cirque Romanès, a venerable Gypsy circus that's a Parisian institution, may be expelled from the country. They've started an online petition and on October 4th will hold a "night of support." Says Délia Romanèsa, one of the circus' founders,
Even we, Gypsy artists who are legal citizens, are being attacked...I found it extraordinary that they sent us to represent France at Shanghai and that, when we came back, they weren't letting our musicians work. It's mad, really bad. They want to get rid of us. They just don't want to have to see us. But we are human beings too, you know?