The attempt of European Union commissioner Viviane Reding to make the French government accountable for its mass deportation of Roma came to a grinding halt after a few hours.
seemed to be correct then, but by now appears to be not true.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
Reding: No apology for my comparison to World War II
Commissioner Reding has strongly criticized France
Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 18:17
By our correspondent Christopher Ostendorf in Strasbourg
In Strasbourg, Commissioner Reding has emphasized again that she will not tolerate that France flouts European Union rules, while deporting Roma. She also said that she did not regret her comparisons with World War II.
The European Commission suspects France of discrimination against Roma Gypsies, by arresting them en masse and expelling them from the country. Roma, like all other European citizens, have the right to travel freely within the European Union.
The European Commission is currently investigating the French policy and they expect to decide next week whether France should appear before the European court.
In Strasbourg, Reding made it clear once more that she does not regret her words and that she is not apologizing to the French president. She only said that she regretted that her words “have been misunderstood.”
She is not taking back any of her words. Indeed, the Commissioner explained that she, being a Luxembourger, feels a special responsibility for the treatment of Roma.
During World War II, all Roma Gypsies from Luxembourg were deported by the Third Reich. Especially considering this history, Commissioner Reding does insist that she correctly criticizes Sarkozy for his instruction to arrest and deport primarily Roma.
By now, France has deleted the word Roma from the controversial statement. Next week will tell whether that is sufficient to prevent a lawsuit before the European Court of Justice.
Anne-Marie Gouvet, an anesthesiologist in Pau in southwestern France, has written to Nicolas Sarkozy to refuse her Legion of Honor medal, which she was to receive next January. She hopes this will “influence public opinion”: here.