Friday, September 17, 2010

Sarkozy Blasts EU as Flap Over Gypsies Grows

Wall Street Journal
September 17, 2010

A war of words between the European Union and France over a French campaign to deport Gypsies spilled into a summit of EU leaders Thursday. French President Nicolas Sarkozy angrily denounced a top EU official who had alluded to Nazi horrors in her condemnation of the removals, and insisted they would continue.

The 27 EU leaders weren't scheduled to talk about Gypsies, also known as Roma in Europe. But controversy abhors a vacuum, and the summit's light schedule of nebulous foreign-policy discussion was quickly overtaken by an escalating international dispute that touches on the reach of Brussels' authority, the sanctity of European rights, the pursuit of law and order, and a very peeved French president.

Over a lunch initially dedicated to a progress report from an economic task force, Mr. Sarkozy and José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, exchanged "very fierce" words, Bulgarian Premier Boyko Borisov told reporters afterward. "Quite lively," said U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron.

Asked about the lunchtime contretemps, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "Lunch was good, as far as the food was concerned."