The EU Parliament Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats [official website] on Thursday accused France of violating EU law [press release] by deporting up to 1,000 Roma migrants [JURIST news archive] from the country. The group cited EU directive 38/2004 [text, PDF] for the proposition that EU citizens are free to move within EU territory. The group also raised concerns about allegations of the country fingerprinting deportees, stating that such actions violate the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms [text, PDF] in addition to other laws. Group leader Martin Schulz addressed the group's concerns, stating:
As a founding principle, the EU bans discrimination based on ethnic origin or nationality. This ban is part of the EU's DNA and its identity as a community of values, as defined by the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Now, with the Lisbon Treaty in force, it has the status of binding primary law. ... The recent treatment of Roma people in France was appalling and cannot go unchallenged. Their rights have been abused for populist, electoral reasons by a government that is fast losing support. ... Scenes like those we have recently witnessed in France must never be repeated.Schulz additionally condemned the European Commission and European Council for failing to act in light of the EU Parliament's recent backing of a strategy for the Roma. Schulz called on the two institutions to account for their inaction.
Last month, French President Nicolas Sarkozy [official website, in French] ordered measures against illegal Roma communities in France and announced legislation [JURIST report] that would make deportation easier. At the time, the French government aimed to dismantle half of illegal Roma camps within three months and to immediately deport all those found to have broken the law. In February, following the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl by East European immigrants, Italian authorities began dismantling illegal immigrant camps [JURIST report] around Rome that were heavily populated by members of the Roma minority.