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pict_20100909PHT81843Expressing "deep concern" at recent measures taken by the French authorities and other EU Member States, Parliament argued on Thursday that mass expulsions of Roma people violate EU law as they amount to discrimination on the basis of race.

MEPs called on policymakers to avoid "inflammatory rhetoric" and also criticised the Council and Commission's lack of commitment on the issue.

•           resolution adopted by 337/245/51
•           mass expulsions and collection of fingerprints  illegal
•           policymakers should avoid inflammatory and discriminatory rhetoric
•           MEPs regret "late and limited reaction" of European Commission

In a resolution tabled by the S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA and GUE/NGL groups and adopted by 337 votes to 245 with 51 abstentions, Parliament says the Member States in question should immediately "suspend all expulsions of Roma".

Parliament "rejects any statements which link minorities and immigration with criminality and create discriminatory stereotypes" as well as "the inflammatory and openly discriminatory rhetoric" (…) "lending credibility to racist statements and the actions of extreme right-wing groups".  MEPs also argue that fingerprinting the Roma is illegal and violates the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

EU legislation on free movement stipulates that "the lack of economic means can in no circumstances justify the automatic expulsion of EU citizens". Restrictions on freedom of movement can be imposed "solely on the basis of personal conduct, and not of general considerations of prevention or ethnic or national origin." Moreover, say MEPs, expulsion decisions must be assessed and decided on an individual basis, taking into consideration personal circumstances and guaranteeing procedural safeguards and redress.

A full analysis of the situation in France and other Member States required
Parliament also regrets the "late and limited response" by the European Commission as guardian of the treaties to the need to verify the consistency of Member States' actions with EU law. The Commission should "stand firmly behind the values and principles enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Treaties" and "respond promptly with a full analysis of the situation in France and in all the Member States", says Parliament.

Roma summit in April: only three ministers attended
MEPs regret that the Commission has thus far not responded to Parliament's requests to prepare an EU strategy on the Roma. They regret that only three ministers attended the second Roma summit, which took place in Cordoba on 8 April.

Lastly, Parliament emphasises that the situation of the Roma in Europe "can in no way affect the forthcoming accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the Schengen area, nor the rights of their citizens"

(Source: Europa.eu)

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