Barroso Calls for Restraint Ahead of Roma EP Debate

Bulgaria in EU | September 7, 2010, Tuesday // 14:28|  views

President of the EU Commission Jose Manuel Barroso addressing the European Parliament in his first so-called "State of the Union" speech Tuesday. Photo by EPA/BGNES.

President of the European Commission Manuel Baroso has called for level-headedness in the controversy around the issue of EU Roma integration in his first-time "State of the Union" address in the European Parliament.

The issue must not be polarized and all parties must make all due efforts towards solving it, stated the head of the Commission.

He stated that the Union must achieve a balance between the freedom of movement and the right to security.

Nevertheless the Commission President stated: "Everyone in Europe must respect the law, and the governments must respect human rights, including those of minorities. Racism and xenophobia have no place in Europe."

It was unclear how Barroso's words are to be interpreted.

EUobserver characterized them as a "swipe at France's controversial policy of expelling Roma," though it reported that Barroso did not name the French government in particular.

His statement was nonetheless not received all too warmly from MEPs, many of whom felt that a more resolute position needs to be taken against the actions of the French government, reported the Bulgarian National Radio.

Both leader of the socialist PES political group Martin Schulz and the liberal ALDE group Guy Verhofstadt slammed Barroso for failing to expressly denounce the French Roma campaign and requested a more resolute anti-discrimination and anti-racist position, as well as more resolute EU measures against the campaign itself.

The European Parliament is bracing for a debate on the Roma issue later on Tuesday.

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Tags: Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission, European parliament, EU, Roma, deportation, France, Martin Schultz, Guy Verhofstadt, PES, ALDE, freedom of movement, security, xenophobia, racism


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