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January 28, 2020
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Czech Romani group criticizes French and Romanian Governments

Paris/Prague, 27.8.2012 20:39, (ROMEA)
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Agence France-Presse reports that French Police ejected several dozen Romanian Romani people from a campsite in the French town of Évry this morning. French Interior Minister Manuel Valls was mayor there until recently. Cyril Koky, Vice-Chair of the Statewide Association of Romani People in the Czech Republic (Celostátní asociace Romů ČR) has said a better solution would be to integrate Romani people into society.

Koky also criticized the Romanian Government, saying it should address the problems of its own citizens on its own territory. "It's a big problem that the Romanian Government is shifting to another country what it should be addressing at home," Koky warned in an interview for Czech Television. "The social level of these communities must be improved so these people will not be forced to migrate within the European Union, but will instead be able to find truly dignified living conditions in their motherlands," Koky said. He believes the billions of euro being invested into social inclusion must be made better use of. "That money can't just go up the chimney, the range of these programs must be visible in the field," he said.

Several dozen Romani people, including small children, left the zone in the town of Évry that was blocked off by police today. Police say everything took place calmly and without incident. The nonprofit organization ASEFRR, which focuses on supporting solidarity between local residents and Romani people, said more than 70 people had lived in the camp for roughly four months.

The Romani campers learned on Saturday of the Évry town council's decision to close the camp. French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who was mayor of the town until June of this year, said the sanitary and security situation in the camp was unsustainable.

Valls and other French representatives intend to visit Romania in September to discuss the situation of Romani communities there with Romanian officials. Several days ago Paris also announced it would ask EU Member States to convene meetings to have the relevant ministers address the issue of Romani people at EU level.

After holding a special meeting on this issue last Wednesday, the French Government announced that it will be lifting restrictions on its labor market for citizens of Bulgara and Romania, the EU countries which most of the Romani migrants are leaving to come to France. An estimated 15 000 - 20 000 foreign-born Romani people live in France.

The cabinet emphasized that it will continue to close illegal Romani campsites throughout France should such closures be ordered by the courts or should the authorities evaluate the situation at a given site as dangerous or an immediate health risk and that it will continue to deport some Romani people back to their countries of origin. Those policies prompted criticism from the EU previously.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, Czech Press Agency, Zdeněk Ryšavý, Czech Television, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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