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New Deal between France and Romania on Roma Returns Must Not Breach Rights to Free Movement

14 September 2012

Budapest, Bucharest, Paris 14 September 2012: A new pilot project to send Roma migrants back to Romania from France should not breach freedom of movement rights for EU citizens, and should not encourage the French government to continue with its current policies on Roma.

The French and Romanian governments signed a new deal relating to the deportation of Roma on 12 September. Media sources report that this is a two-year pilot scheme that will begin with the repatriation of around 80 Romani families currently living in France. An official French government statement mentions the “implementation and follow-up of 80 concrete projects aimed at the reintegration of returnees from France”, to be achieved through close collaboration between national and local French and Romanian authorities. Full details of the agreement have yet to be released.

The ERRC supports any genuine and effective efforts to integrate Roma. However it would expect that such efforts be carefully designed, transparent and effectively monitored. The ERRC is also concerned that any such measures are undertaken in the context of ongoing evictions and explusions from France.

France currently sends Romanian citizens back under a so-called voluntary scheme of Humanitarian Aid Returns (aides au retour humanitaire, ARH). The returns cannot be considered voluntary and therefore breach rights to free movement. This was made clear by a 2011 decision of the European Committee of Social Rights in a collective complaint against France, regarding the expulsions of Roma in 2010. It noted that so-called voluntary returns were actually disguised forms of forced collective expulsions, as the returns were typically accepted following forced eviction and under the threat of expulsion from France. The willingness to accept financial assistance of € 300 per adult and € 100 per child reveals a “situation of destitution or extreme uncertainty”, and the absence of economic freedom “poses a threat to the effective enjoyment of their political freedom to come and go as they choose”.

In addition to concerns around expulsions, France continues its relentless policy of evictions of Romani communities. Since June this year the ERRC has recorded more than 30 forced evictions throughout France affecting more than 4,000 Roma. Over the last two days alone more than 800 Roma have left the settlement of Sucy en Brie, in the suburbs of Paris.

For more information, contact

Sinan Gökçen,
Media and Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre

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ERRC submission to the European Commission on Roma Inclusion in enlargement countries (May 2017)

25 May 2017

Written comments by the ERRC to the European Commission on enlargement component of the EU Roma Framework.


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Roma Rights 1 2017: Roma and Conflict: Understanding the Impact of War and Political Violence

16 May 2017

The impact of conflict on minority populations merits special attention, especially if those minorities have long been marginalized, viewed by the warring parties with a mixture of ambivalence and contempt, and deemed to be communities of little consequence in the peace-building processes that follow the conclusion of hostilities. This issue of Roma Rights Journal takes a look at the fate of Roma during and after conflicts.

Sometimes Roma have been the direct targets of murderous aggression or subject to reprisals. Then there have been the many times where individual Roma actively took a side, but too often the roles played by Roma, Travellers and other minorities were elided from the dominant national narratives that followed.

In many conflicts, caught between warring groups with no foreign power or military alliance to champion their claims, Roma found themselves displaced, despised and declaimed as bogus refugees, nomads and “mere” economic migrants in the aftermath.

As long as Europe’s largest ethnic minority is written out and rendered invisible in the histories of Europe’s wars and conflicts; and excluded from the politics of reconstruction and peace-making, the continent’s self-understanding will remain fatally flawed.

Editors: Marek Szilvasi, Kieran O’Reilly, Bernard Rorke

Roma Rights 1 2017 (PDF)

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Macron Election Call Out

5 May 2017

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