France skirts Roma expulsion punishment

Oct. 20, 2010 at 10:02 AM
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STRASBOURG, France, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- The European Commission has decided not to start infringement procedures against France over its expulsion of Gypsies, an EU official says.

Justice Minister Viviane Reding told a meeting in Strasbourg infringement was ruled out after Paris submitted plans to bring its legislation in line with EU law on freedom of movement, the EUobserver reported.

"Following the official commitments made by France last Friday, the European Commission will now, for the time being, not pursue the infringement procedure against France," Reding announced Tuesday.

This summer France repatriated more than 1,000 Roma of Romanian and Bulgarian citizenship as part of a "voluntary return" scheme that included exit payments of $416 for each adult and $138 for each child.

At the time, Reding said she was "appalled" by the move.

Tuesday, her rhetoric was visibly toned down, the Observer reported.

"This is proof of the good functioning of the European Union as a community governed by the rule of law," Reding said.

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