France: Yet another Romani immigrant camp shut down
Agence France-Presse reports that yet another Romani camp was shut down today in France. For several months, as many as 180 Romani immigrants, including dozens of children, had been living in temporary dwellings on the outskirts of Lyon. It is presumed that most of the immigrants are from Romania and that many will be deported.
The raid in Lyon in the southeast of the country took place just one day after French Police evicted more than 70 Romanian Romani people from a camp in the town of Évry. Current French Interior Minister Manuel Valls was mayor there until recently. Valls has explained that the sanitary and security situation in the camp was untenable. Several other Romani camps have been evacuated in recent weeks from various places throughout France.
Valls said previously that he intends to visit Romania in September to discuss the situation of Romanian Romani people with officials there. Paris also announced several days ago that it will be asking EU countries to convene meetings at which the relevant ministers can address the issue of Romani migrants 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. France will also continue to deport some Romani people back to their countries of origin. Those policies prompted criticism from the EU previously.