Commission warns France of possible infringement actions for Roma expulsions

European Commissioner responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, made a forceful reaction on 14 September over last developments in the situation of Roma people in France. In her statement, Commissioner Reading qualified the situation as "a disgrace" and warned France about the possibility to initiate an infringement action.

The European Commission wants now to be categoric about the situation of Roma expulsions from France: Discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin or race has no place in Europe and is incompatible with the values on which the European Union is founded. National authorities who discriminate ethnic groups in the application of EU law are also violating the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which all Member States, including France, have signed up to.

The European Commission, whose way to handle the situation as guardian of the Treaties has been criticized by the European Parliament in the debate over this issue in the last plenary session, is preparing a legal analysis on the situation based on the last facts and including all relevant documents and circulars. However, Commissioner Reading declared to be convinced that the Commission will have no choice but to initiate infringement action against France, for a discriminatory application of the Free Movement Directive and for lack of transposition of the procedural and substantive guarantees under the Free Movement Directive.

Since the beginning of this situation during the summer, the European Commission has been following very closely the developments in France regarding the Roma. Together with Commissioner Andor and Commissioner Malmström, Commissioner Reding submitted a preliminary legal analysis of the French measures on 1 September to President Barroso and the College of Commissioners.

This preliminary analysis stressed, inter alia, that France would be in violation of EU law if the measures taken by the French authorities in applying the Free Movement Directive had targeted a certain group on the basis of nationality, race or ethnic origin. Further to it, the matter was discussed with the two French ministers mandated for it whose political assurances are now contradicted by an administrative circular issued by the same government, as Commissioner pointed out.