EU executive steers clear of Roma round-up row

7th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

The European Commission is avoiding all controversy with France over President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to deport Roma migrants overstaying their welcome, a Commission spokesman said Tuesday.

At a meeting in Paris on Tuesday, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Sarkozy had agreed "there was no interest for both parties to create a controversy out of this issue", said spokesman Olivier Bailly.

The two also agreed "it is important to deepen their cooperation and their constructive dialogue" over a serious question that "should be dealt with the same level of seriousness".

His comment came as France came under criticism at a session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg after Sarkozy touched off an international storm in August for ordering police to raid and dismantle unauthorised Gypsy encampments across France following a public order incident.

While French-born Gypsies were moved on, Eastern European Roma unable to prove they have means to integrate into mainstream French society were flown back to Romania and Bulgaria.

The Commission spokesman added that an internal study being carried out on France's policy regarding Roma Gypsies would not be made public.

"The only thing made public", he added, would be "a political decision by the college" of 12 commissioners.

© 2010 AFP

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