In a bid to boost his flagging support Nicholas Sarkozy has turned to increasingly disreputable methods. One thing which has won Mr Sarkozy some plaudits (from all the wrong places I hasten to add) is the eviction from their homes and deportation of Roma EU citizens living in France.
I personally have been appalled by a situation which gave the impression that people are being removed from a Member State of the European Union just because they belong to a certain ethnic minority. This is a situation I had thought Europe would not have to witness again after the Second World War.
And ladies and gentlemen, this is not a minor offence in a situation of this importance. After 11 years of experience in the Commission, I would even go further: This is a disgrace.
Let me be very clear: Discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin or race has no place in Europe. It is incompatible with the values on which the European Union is founded. National authorities who discriminate ethnic groups in the application of EU law are also violating the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which all Member States, including France, have signed up to.
No Member State can expect special treatment, especially not when fundamental values and European laws are at stake. This applies today to France. This applies equally to all other Member States, big or small, which would be in a similar situation. You can count on me for that.”
Too right. The treatment of the Roma in France has been disgusting and any censure of the French authorities is welcome.