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Citizen Rights Don't Apply to Roma
#11
The French government acts all shocked and fails to see the problem... Viking

The minister bleating about EU criticism as follows - "The tone she took … is not the manner one uses to address a great state like France, which is the mother of human rights" - is a fine example of hypocrisie.

Quote:France defends Roma expulsion policy

Minister attacks EU for comparing crackdown with second world war deportations


September 15, 2010

France today angrily defended its controversial Roma crackdown, attacking the European commission for comparing the policy with second world war deportations and for failing to address "the mother [country] of human rights" with sufficient gravity.

Pierre Lellouche, the French European affairs minister who yesterday found himself in the firing line from Viviane Reding, the European commissioner for justice, said he could not allow her to compare "the France of 2010 [with] the France of Vichy".

"The tone she took … is not the manner one uses to address a great state like France, which is the mother of human rights," he told French radio. "We are not the naughty pupil of the class whom the teacher tells off and we are not the criminal before the prosecutor."

Lellouche, who was told yesterday that France could face legal action over the summer crackdown, added that he had spoken to Reding this morning and told her he would like to think "her passion [had] exceeded her rationale".

"A nest egg, a plane ticket going to their native country within the EU: these are not death camps, these are not gas chambers," he added, referring to the one-off payment of €300 (£250) per adult made by French authorities to Roma returning to their home country on so-called "voluntary" return flights.

Lellouche's strident defence of the policy, which has seen nearly 1,000 Roma expelled and dozens of "non-authorised" camps broken up since the beginning of August, was echoed in more mild language by the Elysée. Insisting there was no desire to further the "pointless controversy" with Brussels, it added, in an oblique reference to the second world war comparison: "However, certain comments are quite simply not acceptable."

On French radio, Eric Besson, Nicolas Sarkozy's minister for immigration and national identity, criticised Reding's reference to Jewish deportations in the 1940s, calling it "shocking" and "anachronistic".

The U-turn by the European commission, which came after weeks of criticism by human rights activists for failing to take a tough line with Paris, came in the aftermath of the leak of a French government document showing that the Roma were the explicit target of the crackdown. The government, which was deeply embarrassed by the leak, has since modified the order to remove all reference to a particular group of people.

"There was a mistake in the circular; it has been corrected. The end. Done," said Benoist Apparu, a junior minister and member of Sarkozy's rightwing UMP party.

Among French critics of the Roma crackdown, however, the criticism from Brussels came as proof of their country's tarnished image. "It is a true disgrace for men and women to be hunted down in our country just because they are of a certain ethnicity and not because they have committed crimes," said Martine Aubry, leader of the opposition Socialist party.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep...-crackdown
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Reply
#12
Sarkozy throws a pathetic hissy fit, claiming France is applying the law and should not be criticized.

Quote:Sarkozy allies emerged from a presidential lunch today to report that the French leader would take the commission to task when he arrives in Brussels for an EU summit tomorrow.

"He says he is only applying European regulations, French laws, and that there is absolutely nothing to criticise France for on the issue," said Bruno Sido, a senator from Sarkozy's UMP party. "But if the Luxembourgers want to take them [the Roma], there would be no problem."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep...bourg-roma

Sarkozy then gets his way in Brussels, with the EU Justice commissioner being forced to apologize. :evil:

Quote:Roma expulsions by France overshadow EU summit opening

Anger simmers as EU justice commissioner forced to apologise for comparing deportations with wartime persecution of Jews


September 16, 2010

The EU summit has opened in Brussels amid continued tension over the French expulsion of Gypsies and the European commission's threat to take Nicolas Sarkozy's government to court.

The EU justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, has expressed regret for comparing French treatment of Roma with that of Jews during the second world war but insisted she was right to rebuke the French government and maintained that it could face a court case for breaching of common EU rules.

Allies of Sarkozy had said the French leader would take the commission to task over Reding's attack but he arrived at the summit without making any comment. He angered Luxembourg – Reding's home country – when he told the principality to take in France's unwanted Roma.

Reding's office has said "there should not be a parallel with world war two" but she faced further criticism. The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said: "Madame Reding ... made unacceptable statements about French policy, in particular certain comparisons with the second world war."

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said: "I found the tone and especially the historical comparisons unsuitable. And I hope we can find a better way." Germany and Italy have been pushing for discussion of the Roma expulsions at the summit.

The commission chief, José Manuel Barroso, has rejected Reding's analogy but emphasised his support for her. "
Reding's attack on France was triggered by a leaked document from the French interior ministry showing that Roma were being targeted collectively on ethnic grounds "as a priority" despite repeated French government denials.

The dispute has overshadowed the meeting even though it is not on the official agenda, and threatens to undermine the main objective of the summit, which is presenting a unified foreign and economic policy. There are key summits in coming weeks with Asian nations including China and India.

"When we promote free trade, climate change and human rights around the world we need to have our own backyard in order," said Finland's foreign minister, Alexander Stubb. "And of course anything that looks a little bit different, perhaps suspicious or complicated in Europe, will not strengthen our foreign policy."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep...-eu-summit

EU commission chief Barroso claims: "The prohibition of discrimination based on racial and ethnic origin is one of the EU's fundamental principles," he said. "The commission will do what is necessary to ensure the respect of [EU] law."

However, realpolitick rules, the fundamental principles are ignored, and France is free to carry on deporting the Roma. :mad:
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Reply
#13
Apart from anything else the existence of Roma and their history confront the notion of property rights which is paramount in the West.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#14
Magda Hassan Wrote:Apart from anything else the existence of Roma and their history confront the notion of property rights which is paramount in the West.

A fundamental and important point.

As is the fact that politicians know that the Romani have no "nation state", and are an easy target for unscrupulous and ambitious politicans desperate to curry popular favour.

Sarkozy is carrying on triumphantly with the dismantling of Romani camps and deportation of the Gypsy people.

He claims he is "outraged" and "deeply hurt" at criticism from the EU.

This French fool is behaving like a toddler throwing a tantrum to get his way.

But a 3-year-old has a better grasp of right and wrong than the French President.

Quote:Nicolas Sarkozy rounds on critics and vows to keep dismantling Roma camps

French president denies his government is unfairly targeting Gypsies after spat with Jose Manuel Barroso at EU summit

September 16, 2010

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has rounded fiercely on European critics of his anti-Gypsy campaign and pledged to carry on with a programme of deportations and demolition of Roma camps.

He branded criticism of him by the European commission as "outrageous" and "deeply hurtful".

The war of words between Brussels and Paris over the legality of the French government's actions hijacked an EU summit and resulted in Sarkozy and José Manuel Barroso, the commission president, engaging in robust verbal sparring over lunch today, according to witnesses.

"There was an intense exchange of sharp words," said Boyko Borisov, the prime minister of Bulgaria, which has been receiving some of the deportees from France.

"The exchange was violent on the part of Sarkozy," said a senior EU official.

"There was a lively debate," observed David Cameron afterwards.

Another EU official said: "Sarkozy was caught with his pants down. So he tried to create a distraction. It was a very strong exchange."

The dispute erupted earlier this week, following the leak of a French government document indicating that European Roma immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria were being targeted collectively "as a priority" for eviction from France, a breach of EU laws.

The European commissioner for justice and fundamental rights, Viviane Reding, accused the French government of duplicity and threatened to take France to court. She also called the country's conduct a disgrace, and, most controversially, raised the spectre of Vichy France and the wartime persecution of Jews as a parallel with the treatment of Gypsies.

Sarkozy came to today's summit in Brussels isolated, except for the support of Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, but promptly went on the offensive.

Tonight, he denied France had broken any laws, dismissed talk of discrimination against Balkan Roma, claimed the support of the rest of Europe and argued that Barroso had abandoned Reding to side with the French.

Berlusconi said that Reding and other European commissioners should be muzzled, with Barroso alone allowed to speak for Brussels. "I am the president of France and I cannot allow my country to be insulted," Sarkozy declared.

"Europe is unanimous in condemning those outrageous statements [by Reding] ... It was deeply, deeply hurtful. I had to re-establish the facts." While many witnesses spoke of the passionate argument over lunch, Sarkozy maintained that he was "the only person who remained calm and did not use excessive language". That version of events was contested by several witnesses.

Reding has faced widespread criticism in Brussels and EU capitals for her invocation of the second world war in relation to the Roma dispute. But on the substance of the row – whether France has broken the law and the commission's role in deciding that – she has won widespread support.

Barroso, according to witnesses, told Sarkozy that the French had "a case to answer" and that it was the commission's job to investigate that. He accused Sarkozy of raising a fuss to try to divert attention from the real issue – whether the French authorities were guilty of racist discrimination and breaking European rules on freedom of movement for EU citizens.

"Many people questioned Reding's choice of words, but not a single person except Sarkozy questioned the substance," said a Barroso spokesman.

"There was a huge row over lunch with President Barroso insisting that he had a job to do of upholding EU laws on the free movement of its citizens and he would continue to do it.

"We will continue to consider whether to take legal action against France. That work is going on."

The summit was called to examine the EU's failures in developing effective common foreign policies and to discuss economic reform.

According to EU ambassadors and several officials, the organisation of the summit was "shambolic" and "chaotic", with Herman Van Rompuy, the European council president, and Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief, being blamed for the poor preparation. But the Roma issue overshadowed everything else.

Just when leaders, diplomats and officials were calling for a cooling of tempers and a calmer debate, Sarkozy's broadsides reignited the row. He categorically denied that France was breaking any laws or singling out the Roma for harassment.

In the past six weeks, French police have deported more than 1,000 Roma to Romania and Bulgaria and dismantled more than 100 camps. The interior ministry document told police to focus on the Roma "as a priority".

"Of course we are not aiming at a given ethnic population," said Sarkozy. More than 500 "illegal settlements" had been demolished in France in August, he said, with 80% of the people affected being French.

"There has been no form of discrimination whatsoever ... This policy will be continued."

Sarkozy added that all EU heads of state and government were shocked by Reding's remarks and that Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, had phoned him yesterday "to express her total solidarity".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep...roma-camps
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Reply
#15
I suspect that this will come to nothing - the EU will exonerate the French state, and the French state will exonerate its own official. But whilst the circus plays out...

Quote:Roma expulsions: EU to start legal action against France

European commission to officially ask France to apply EU rules as first step towards court case


September 29, 2010

The European Union has decided to launch legal action against France over its expulsions of Roma to poorer EU nations.

A European commission spokeswoman, Pia Ahrenkilde, said the commission believed France had not applied EU rules allowing free movement of EU citizens. She said the commission decided today to send an official notification letter to France asking it to apply the EU rules. The commission is also asking France for more details about the expulsions of hundreds of Roma.

These steps could eventually lead to a court case against France.


The commission stopped short of saying that France was discriminating against a specific ethnic group. France has come under wide criticism for the expulsions, from the EU as well as the United Nations and the Vatican.

Ahrenkilde said the commission decided to send a formal notification letter containing a number of detailed questions "with a view to make sure there is legal certainty" about France's actions.

About 10-12 million Roma live in Europe, according to EU estimates, and face discrimination in housing, jobs and education across the continent. As EU citizens, they have a right to travel to France, but must get papers to work or live there in the long term.

The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has defended the expulsions, saying they are part of an overall crackdown on illegal immigrants and crime. The government says most of the Roma are leaving voluntarily, with a small stipend from France. Most are being sent to Romania.

Critics say France is unfairly targeting an ethnic minority and lumping together entire communities instead of handling the expulsions on a case-by-case basis.

Up to 15,000 Roma live in France, according to the advocacy group Romeurope. French authorities have no official estimate.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/29/roma-france

Quote:French official may face racial hatred charge over Gypsy memo

Interior ministry official Michel Bart to appear in court to decide if memo is 'incitement to racial hatred'


September 29, 2010

A senior French official is to appear in court accused of inciting racial hatred following the leaking of his internal memo on the targeting of Roma camps.

Michel Bart's directive ordering the dismantling of settlements of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants – who were later expelled from France – caused political embarrassment for President Nicolas Sarkozy as well as outrage at home and abroad.

It prompted Viviane Reding, the European commissioner for justice and fundamental rights, to liken the French expulsions to Nazi deportations during the second world war, an accusation furiously rejected by France.

The EU announced today that it would begin legal action against France for the expulsions.

In his directive written in August, Bart, who is head of the interior minister's private office, reminded préfets (local government officials) that "300 illegal camps or settlements must be evacuated within three months, particularly those of the Roma".

At the time Sarkozy's government was under fire for expelling nearly 1,000 Romanian and Bulgarian Gypsies, but ministers were publicly insisting that the Roma were not being specifically targeted.

Bart will appear before a tribunal that will decide if his memo constitutes "incitement to racial hatred" next month. The legal action was launched by the Representative Council of Black Associations. The French Human Rights League and an immigrant support group are bringing a separate lawsuit.

After the row, the government withdrew the directive and issued another ordering the evacuation of the camps "whoever the occupants".

The EU is now deciding whether to sue France over the expulsion of the Roma.

In June, Brice Hortefeux, France's interior minister, was fined €750 (£646) after being found guilty of making "incontestably offensive" racist remarks and ordered to pay €2,000 to an anti-racist group. Introduced to a man of North African origin at a meeting of ruling UMP party activists, the minister was recorded saying: "When there is one, it's OK. It's when there are lots of them that there are problems." Hortefeux, who is appealing against his conviction, said he was talking about local people, not those of Arab origin.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep...atred-bart

Talking of circuses:

Quote:Gypsy circus is next on France's expulsion list

After deporting many illegal Roma immigrants, Nicolas Sarkozy's government may force Europe's only Gypsy circus to close down


September 26, 2010

With its mesmerising songs and startling acrobatics, the Cirque Romanès is one of the most unusual cultural highlights of Paris: the only Gypsy circus in Europe and the only show in the French capital whose artists retreat to their caravans after the curtain falls. For 18 years it has been attracting audiences to its exotic blend of poetry and performance. In June it was deemed good enough to represent France at the World Expo in Shanghai.

But after a summer which has seen France crack down on its foreign Roma population and draw the ire of Brussels for the policy, the future of the circus and its loyal band of artists hangs in the balance. The authorities have refused to validate work permits for the five Romanian musicians whose instruments are crucial to the performances.

The French employment inspectorate insists that the cancellation of the permits has no connection with the wider political climate, which has seen around 1,000 Roma return to their home countries in nearly two months and around 200 unauthorised Roma camps cleared by police. They say there are problems with the circus's functioning, accuse its owner of underpaying the musicians and question the use of child performers.

Such claims are dismissed as "pure invention" by Alexandre Romanès, the circus's charismatic founder. "They're making up all these reasons. It's complete fantasy," he said, as he sipped coffee outside his caravan on the outskirts of Paris. Responding to the authorities' chief criticism – that of low pay – he added: "They get four times the minimum wage, and they are fed and housed. When I contacted a lawyer and told her what they [the authorities] were trying to claim, she just burst out laughing."

Romanès, a published poet and friend of the late writer Jean Genet, is unequivocal about what he believes to be the real reasons for the sudden move, taken for the first time in the circus's two decades of existence. For him, it is just another sign of France's growing hostility towards his people.

"As this woman from Luxembourg [EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding] said, we thought Europe was protected from this kind of thing, but clearly it isn't. What I have noticed is that, instead of waging war on poverty, the French government is waging war on the poor," he said.

In order to try to revoke the authorities' "unjust" decision, 59-year-old Romanès and his wife, Délia, have started an online petition. Urging the authorities to let the circus "employ those Romanian and Bulgarian artists with whom they want to work", the appeal has more than 7,000 signatories. A "night of support" on 4 October will aim to rally the troops.

One of the most vocal Romanès fans is Reinhard von Nagel, a world-famous harpsichord maker and esteemed Maître d'Art appointed by the French culture ministry. There was no doubt, he said, of the political nature of the refusal of permits. "In France, as in other countries, there are laws for and against things, but they are not always applied. If you want to attack someone, you find a law and you apply it. That is what the authorities are doing in the case of Alexandre and Délia," he said, criticising the "zealousness" of the authorities implementing the "hunting down of the Roma".

"It is a policy which I have no hesitation in declaring to be fascist. It bothers me deeply," said Von Nagel, a German who has lived in Paris for decades. At a meeting last weekend with Frédéric Mitterrand, the culture minister, he brought the Cirque Romanès to the minister's attention. "I told him that if the Cirque Romanès is shut, I don't know if I can stay in France," he said.

President Sarkozy's policy of paid "voluntary returns" for all those foreign Roma found to be living on French soil without permission has been denounced as unfair and unworkable by human rights activists, foreign politicians and even members of the president's own right-wing UMP party, one of whom – like Reding – enraged the government by comparing the evacuations across France with Vichy-era roundups of French Jews and Gypsies.

For the Romanès family, who dislike the term Roma and prefer to be proud Gypsies, the situation is telling. Even though they are both French citizens – Alexandre since birth – they feel they are being stigmatised by a crackdown which is supposedly only a question of legality. This was not helped by the leak this month of an interior ministry memo that singled out Roma camps as the target for this summer's expulsions.

"Even we, Gypsy artists who are legal citizens, are being attacked," said Délia, 40, a Romanian-born singer who fled her native Transylvania during the communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. "I found it extraordinary that they sent us to represent France at Shanghai and that, when we came back, they weren't letting our musicians work. It's mad, really bad. They want to get rid of us. They just don't want to have to see us. But we are human beings too, you know?"

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep...ue-romanes
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Reply
#16
The French Immigration Ministry is to fingerprint Roma (Gypsies) who get financial aid after being deported.
From Friday, biometric records will be created on Roma who receive up to 300 euros (£259; $409) after they leave France.
Most of them are repatriated to Bulgaria and Romania.
Authorities say some expelled Roma make return trips to France to benefit several times from the humanitarian aid they get for going home.
In 2009 more than 15,200 return aid payments were made to immigrants, mostly Roma, who were expelled from France.
The French government classes the majority as "volunteers", who are given a cash payment of 300 euros per adult or 150 euros for each child.
The expulsion fund cost the French government 9m euros last year.
Continue reading the main story Related stories


There is suspicion in France that some of the Roma flown home to eastern Europe have used the cash handouts to come back under false identities.
The French government hopes taking a biometric record of everyone who is expelled will cut back on fraud.
The decision to fingerprint the Roma has led to concerns by human rights groups, who already accuse the French government of targeting a minority group.
And France was warned by the European authorities this week that it will face disciplinary proceedings and possible court action if EU freedom of movement is not enshrined in French law by next month.
Commission officials said the onus is on Paris to prove that it is not targeting Roma as an ethnic group.
France believes it has law on its side. President Sarkozy said his country has every right to expel foreign Roma who are living in France without a job or any means to support themselves.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11450831
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#17
Magda Hassan Wrote:The French Immigration Ministry is to fingerprint Roma (Gypsies) who get financial aid after being deported.
From Friday, biometric records will be created on Roma who receive up to 300 euros (�259; $409) after they leave France.
Most of them are repatriated to Bulgaria and Romania.

The French cannot do this.

Freedom of movement for EU citizens is enshrined in EU law.

Quote:Within the European Union, residents are guaranteed the right to freely move within the EU's internal borders by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the European Parliament and Council Directive 2004/38/EC of 29 April 2004.[21] Union residents are given the right to enter any member state for up to three months with a valid passport or identity card. If the citizen does not have a travel document, the member state must afford them every facility in obtaining the documents. Under no circumstances can an entry or exit visa be required.

(snip) Furthermore, no EU citizen may be declared permanently persona non grata within the European Union, or permanently excluded from entry by any member state.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_...pean_Union

Are Sarkozy and the French claiming that the Roma are non-persons?
"It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
"Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
"They are in Love. Fuck the War."

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

"Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war
Reply
#18
Racism in the mainstream parties is becoming far too 'acceptable'. And this from the so called socialist party. I would hate to see what the National Front are saying. Divide and conquer. Fear the 'other'. And all a bit rich blaming the South Slav Romas because it was the France, amongst others, who participated in the break up and ethnic cleansing of multi ethnic Yugoslavia where Roma were welcome and safe.


Quote:French minister Valls defends call for Roma expulsions

Video at link below.


French Interior Minister Manuel Valls: "The majority must be returned to the borders. There is no other solution"

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls says he stands by remarks calling for the country's Roma (Gypsies) to be expelled.
He said few Roma could ever integrate into French society and "the majority" should be sent "back to the borders".
He has been criticised by human rights campaigners, the European Commission and one of his cabinet colleagues.
Amnesty International is calling for a ban on forced evictions of Roma people in France in a report out on Wednesday.
It says more than 10,000 were evicted from temporary camps in the first half of the year.
It has said Mr Valls' remarks were likely to "perpetuate stereotypes and encourage animosity" among the approximately 20,000 Roma who have settled in France, mainly from Romania, Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia.
"A theory that such and such a person or such and such a people will never, ever be able to integrate just doesn't stand up," said Mr Valls' cabinet colleague, Arnaud Montebourg, according to Agence France-Presse news agency.
"That's what they said about the Italians, that's what they said about the Spanish, it's what they said about the Portuguese, and what they said about the Arabs.
"Decreeing in advance that it is impossible seems to me excessive and is worthy of being corrected."
Mr Valls was also criticised by the UN human rights body, the European Commission, other rights groups including Roma organisations - some of whom are pledging to take Mr Valls to court for incitement to racial hatred.
'Nothing to correct'But Mr Valls - a dapper 51-year-old who polls suggest is a rising star in Francois Hollande's Socialist administration - said he saw no reason to correct comments that Roma lifestyles were "clearly in confrontation" with French ways of life.
"I've got nothing to correct," he said. "My remarks only shock those who don't know the subject.
"The majority [of Roma] should be delivered back to the borders. We are not here to welcome these people.
"I'd remind you of [former Socialist premier] Michel Rocard's statement: 'It's not France's job to deal with the misery of the whole world.'"
The treatment of Roma people - who face widespread discrimination in Europe - is a political hot potato in France.
Mr Valls has encouraged local councils to systematically dismantle illegal Roma slums, and offer the expelled residents free flights back to their countries of origin.
He has also been at the forefront of French opposition to allowing Bulgaria and Romania full access to the passport-free Schengen zone.
Mr Valls is himself the Barcelona-born son of Spanish immigrants Mr Montebourg pointed out on Wednesday.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24273380


Quote:Roma deportations split French government





© Photo: AFP

Several French ministers have rejected statements by Interior Minister Manuel Valls that Roma immigrants are inherently different and should be thrown out of the country, casting a shadow on the Socialist-led government ahead of local elections.


By FRANCE 2 / Oliver FARRY (video)
Joseph BAMAT (text)



Contentious statements by Interior Minister Manuel Valls about Roma immigrants in France have sparked a feud within the Socialists-led government, threatening to destabilise President François Hollande's party less than six months ahead of municipal elections.
Housing Minister Cécile Duflot, a member of the Green Party, is leading the charge against Valls, after he said this week that most Roma, also known as gypsies, were incapable of assimilating into French society and should be sent back to their home countries.
Duflot, speaking to fellow party members at a conference in the Western city of Angers on Thursday, accused Valls, a Socialist, of dangerously toying with France's "Republican principles".
"It's not acceptable to say that there are categories within society whose background makes it impossible for them to assimilate. And secondly, that their habits and ways of living are a nuisance to their neighbours," she reprimanded.
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Valls' comments were also rejected by Social Affairs Minister Marisol Touraine, and François Lamy, a junior minister in charge of urban centres, both of whom met with Hollande to express their opposition, according to Le Monde daily.
Other left-leaning leaders have said that it was unacceptable for Valls to extend, and even ramp up, programmes to dismantle Roma camps and force individuals to go back to Romania and Bulgaria a practice that was loudly condemned by Socialists during former conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy's tenure.
Forced evictions of Roma reached a record 10,000 people in 2013, Amnesty International said in report published this week.
Putting Hollande on the spot
Duflot has added fuel to the divisive and potentially-damaging debate by calling on Hollande to weigh in on the issue.
The president avoided commenting on the subject during a visit to a steel-plant in France's north-east town of Florange on Thursday, despite being prodded repeatedly by reporters.
But he appeared to give tacit support to Valls. Government spokesman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told reporters on Thursday that the interior minister was carrying out the responsibilities entrusted to him by the Hollande administration "firmly and humanely."
Far from recoiling, Valls has reaffirmed his position since the criticism began piling up. His statements were also defended by some members of his party.
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While first condemning Valls earlier this week for his "excessive" statements, Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg came to his defence on Friday, telling French RTL radio the interior minister "had a difficult job" and that in the end he "stood by him".
Elections, but which?
The French press has rushed to make speculations about how the divisions within Hollande's government could hurt the Socialist Party in municipal elections early next year.
The right-wing opposition UMP party and the far-right National Front hope to make security and immigration key campaign issues, and many within the Socialist Party think Valls is dangerously playing into their hands.
"The Roma debate is turning our attention away from the real problems, which are unemployment and education. We need to stop making this a subject of public debate," Socialist Senator David Assouline told the politics news site Public Sénat earlier this week.
However, far from hurting Valls' public image, his tough-talking approach has helped him claim the highest approval rating among government ministers.


The fate of impoverished Roma communities in France could yet prove to hold little sway during local ballots next March. Valls may in fact be playing a long-term game. Indeed, he has made no secret of his desire to one day run for the French presidency.
http://www.france24.com/en/20130927-france-division-socialist-party-roma-gypsies-people-valls-duflot-immigration-elections?ns_campaign=editorial

"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

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“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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