Friday, September 17, 2010

Dispute Grows Over France’s Removal of Roma Camps

New York Times
September 16, 2010

A meeting of European Union leaders that was intended to help promote Europe’s role on the global stage, instead descended on Thursday into open discord over the expulsion of thousands of Roma from France.

After heated exchanges, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France vowed to keep dismantling illegal immigrant camps and rejected complaints that the French authorities were racist and deliberately targeted the Roma for deportation.

The disagreement underlines how migration within the 27 nations of the European Union has become a combustible issue in the wake of the European economic crisis. The union’s latest expansion, which brought in the relatively poor and underdeveloped nations of Romania and Bulgaria in 2007, has renewed concern about immigration and integration, particularly during an economic downturn that has spurred many to migrate in search of work.