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Europe

EU drops Roma human rights charge against France

The European Commission has suspended its human rights complaint against France over its expulsion of Roma migrants. The policy had been compared to Nazi tactics.

Roma wait at the check-in desk as they are guarded by a French police officer at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport

Roma make up Europe's largest ethnic minority

The European Commission on Tuesday said it would temporarily suspend its human rights complaint against France over its expulsions of Roma migrants after Paris agreed to alter some of its laws to match European Union regulations.

"France has responded positively," the EU's justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, said in a statement. "The European Commission will now, for the time being, not pursue the infringement procedure against France."

Reding said Paris had agreed to some of the Commission's demands, including issuing a written expulsion order and allowing for the possibility of appeal.

Reding noted the EU would continue to monitor France's implementation of the bloc's regulations.

The EU criticized France earlier this year following its August campaign to raze illegal camps and expel Roma migrants to Romania and Bulgaria. Reding went as far as to compare the French policy to tactics used by Nazi Germany.

French authorities defended the legality of the expulsions, saying they were necessary to ensure public order.

Under EU law, member states may expel citizens of another member if they pose a risk to public safety or burden the welfare system. However, such expulsions must be proportionate and avoid targeting any ethnic group.

France was roundly criticized for its actions by human rights groups, the Catholic Church and the United Nations. French opposition politicians accused President Nicolas Sarkozy of targeting the Roma to try to boost his popularity.

Author: Martin Kuebler (AP, Reuters)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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