Don’t Lecture Us On Roma, Romania Warns France

Don't lecture us on Roma, Romania warns France

M & C
Sep 9, 2010, 11:52 GMT

Bucharest – Romania warned France not to give it any lectures on the situation of the Roma, ahead of a visit by French ministers on Thursday.

French Immigration Minister Eric Besson and Secretary of State for European Affairs Pierre Lellouche are due in Bucharest for talks, in the wake of France's highly controversial expulsion of Roma groups.

Romanian President Traian Basescu warned on Wednesday eveing: 'If they come to lecture us, it (the visit) will not be productive. We must find a solution together.'

The French delegation is due to explain the government's policy of repatriation within the European Union of some Roma groups. The meeting comes as the European Parliament in Strasbourg debates a resolution on Paris ' action.
'France is not handling this like a European state,' Basescu added. 'The greatest responsibility lies with the Roma themselves though. In a civilised Europe, everyone is responsible for their own fate. No one is stopping them (the Roma) from sending their children to school and not begging.'

He called for 'realistic solutions' to the problem, saying, 'We must have the intelligence to find a formula, which does not force them to settle because they don't want to do that. The whole of Europe is on the move.'

And he recalled a previous attempt by the French to get Roma to settle in one place, saying: 'They bought them sheep. The Roma laughed because they have never bred sheep, and sold them the next day.'

President Nicolas Sarkozy's centre-right government has been under fire since late July, when it started repatriating Romas living in illegal camps, either via a voluntary 300-euro (385- dollar) payout or an expulsion order for those deemed a threat to public order.