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June 26, 2022
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Minister Valls stands by his statements on Roma ethnics, EC criticize him

Manuel Valls reiterated for RMC and BFMTV the statement made Tuesday, according to which “the ethnic Roma have a vocation to stay in their own country and become integrated”, adding “there is nothing to correct” about these statements, which have generated a series of discussions in view of upcoming municipal elections.
Answering a question about the UMP (opposition) leader’s request addressed to the French government to oppose opening the Schengen area for Bulgaria and Romania, the French Internal Affairs Minister remarked that “if requirements are not met, it can’t be done”. “These countries’ responsibility is to ensure borders are secure,” the Minister continued, and the European Union (EU) “admits these countries are not prepared” in this respect. “We will see what happens in the future. We have one wish, and that is for Romania to be able to make up for this delay. It has made efforts,” the French Minister stated further.
According to the French Internal Affairs Minister, “housing insertion programs” for Roma have been implemented, but these families “want to stay together in camps” and “in some cases, there are mob organizations that control them”. He emphasized they “have a vocation to return to Romania and Bulgaria and become integrated”.
However, European Commissioner on Justice Viviane Reding harshly criticized the discussions about the Roma people generated in France by French Internal Affairs Minister Manuel Valls, in the context of a political campaign for the upcoming municipal elections in France, France Info radio station notes. “If I’m not mistaken, there will be elections in France. Whenever important issues like the budget or debts are purposefully avoided, the issue of the Roma people is raised,” Reding stated. “The problem could have been solved years ago”, the high European official emphasized. “I am surprised”, she insisted.
European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly also replied yesterday that France has undertaken a commitment to create a European strategy on integrating the Roma not only in their countries of origin, but also in their residing countries. In a report published yesterday, he continued, Amnesty International denounced that France still has not managed to break the vicious cycle of forced Roma evacuations, which are currently at a record level, and requested this practice be prohibited by law.

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