How do we force Roma out of France - and pretend it is not racist?
A valuable leak! A memo from the French interior ministry this week confirmed that President Nicolas Sarkozy launched an explicitly racist war on Traveller camps. He said it had nothing to do with ethnicity, but the memo showed that "Gypsies" are being targeted. This has jolted Europe out of indulging the Sarkozy stunt, and into a full-throated attack on Paris. It has stirred overdue introspection in France about how minorities are treated. And it has highlighted how Europe's largest minority, the 10 million-plus Roma people, suffer all across the continent.
France is not alone. Systematic discrimination against Roma in eastern Europe is an acknowledged if underreported reality. As the EU expanded, migration followed, and eastern attitudes are spreading west. While the Danes have been seeking to expel some Roma, Swedish police have been caught illegally forcing others out of the country. As Germany has repatriated Gypsy children to Kosovo, the Belgians have driven a camp out of Flanders and the Italians have used the presence of Roma as reason to declare a state of emergency.
Read more: The Guardian
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