From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
French ease restrictions on Roma – slightly
Thursday 23 August 2012
by Our Foreign Desk
The French government will expand the number of sectors where Roma migrants from Romania and Bulgaria can seek work, it said yesterday.
Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault’s government has faced harsh criticism of police raids that have dismantled ramshackle camps and left hundreds without shelter.
The government also abolished a tax that employers must pay to employ people from the two countries instead of hiring French workers.
It said, however, that it would continue dismantling camps if they are deemed unsanitary or dangerous.
Roma are Europe’s most marginalised minority. In France, they live on the edges of cities, in cars or in makeshift structures in abandoned industrial zones without running water.
Easier access to France’s job market might not make a huge dent, as the country faces 10 per cent unemployment and a stagnant economy.
But Mr Ayrault called the new measures a “question of humanity and respect.”
He said that any court orders to clear out camps would be honoured but a new system will be put in place to offer other housing options to families.
The government stopped short of lifting all the housing and work restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians that France imposed when the two countries joined the EU.
They are due to expire at the end of 2013 and Mr Ayrault said he would consider lifting them ahead of the deadline.
The Council of Europe called yesterday’s meeting “a welcome step towards finding long-lasting solutions.
“Simply moving Roma families around, within or between states, merely worsens their conditions,” it said.
Vigilante mobs, right-wing protests target Roma in France: here.