The Roma-go-round – 2
It was a brisk trade: France sent Roma back to Romania, and Romania hurled criticism at France.
Romanian president Traian Basescu, while saying that Romania "understands the position of the French government" in deciding to repatriate foreign-born residents who could not support themselves or were a security threat, emphasised that Romania also supports "unconditionally the right of every Romanian citizen to travel without restrictions within the European Union" as his country is an EU member state.
France is among the majority of EU states in limiting labour market access to citizens of Romania and Bulgaria; in any case, EU law allows the repatriation of citizens from other EU states if they become a burden on their host country.
Romanian media reports quoted the country’s foreign minister Teodor Baconschi as saying that he was concerned about "populist provocation and xenophobic reactions" at a time of economic crisis. International organisations feared that the Roma were being made scapegoats to appease right-wing voters ahead of the country's upcoming presidential campaign, reports said.
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