Reding: EU Must Act if France Broke LawsBulgaria in EU | September 17, 2010, Friday // 15:32| views
European Commissioner in charge of Justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, Luxembourger Viviane Reding gives a key news conference on France's expulsions of Gypsies at EU commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium 14 September 2010. Photo by EPA
The European Union should act if the European Commission establishes that France has broken European law with its deportations of Roma, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said on Friday, but declined to say what measures these could be.
"At the moment the Commission is carrying out an investigation of France, where authorities are unfortunately suspected of... taking decisions directed against an ethnic minority, the Roma," Reding said in a speech in Berlin.
"If these suspicions are confirmed, then the Commission, as guardian of (EU) treaties, must assume its role," Reding said in a speech in Berlin. "And it will do so."
Earlier this week Viviane Reding threatened the European Commission is considering legal action against France over its deportations of Roma, which she called a "disgrace".
The case would then go before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, she said.
The Commissioner was heavily criticized in France and Germany after she appeared to compare France's actions to persecutions in Nazi-occupied France.
Reding later said she regretted interpretations of her statement.
Almost 8,300 Romanian and Bulgarian nationals have now been expelled from France since the beginning of the year. Close to 10,000 were expelled in 2009.
Roma from Romania and Bulgaria are allowed free passage into France if they are European Union citizens. After that, however, they must find work, start studies, or find some other way of becoming established in France or risk deportation.
French officials have said the deportations are part of a broader crackdown on illegal immigration, but they have sparked major criticism at home and abroad.
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