Statement by José Manuel BARROSO, EC President following EC Vice-President Viviane Reding statement on the situation of the Roma: extracts
Première transmission: 15/09/2010
Brussels, Belgium - EC/Berlaymont
Fin de production: 15/09/2010
José Manuel Barroso, EC President reacted to the statement of EC Vice-President Viviane Reding on the situation of the Roma in France.
On 14 September, Viviane Reding stated that the EC is considering legal action against France over its deportations of Roma.
She made this decision after considering a "situation which gave the impression that that the people are being removed from a member State of the EU just because they belong to an ethnic minority. This is a situation I had thought Europe would not have to witness again after the Second World War", she declared in front of journalists gathered in the press room of the European Commission.
Viviane Reding expressed her deepest regrets regarding French authorities' behaviour after a leaked government memo contradicted official assurances that its expulsions of irregular migrants did not target Roma.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||SOUNDBITE (English) José Manuel Barroso: the Commission's position is clear, Community law has to be respected. The prohibition of discrimination based on ethnic origin is one of the EU fundamental values, the European Commission will do whatever is necessary to ensure the respect of these principles. Vice President Reding has made this clear and she has done so with the full backing of the College, and with my personal backing. Vice President Reding took her position yesterday after consultations with me and my full support. One or other of the expressions used in the heat of the moment may have given rise to a misunderstanding. Vice President Reding did not want to establish any parallelism between what happened in the World War Second and the present. I also take good note of the statements made today according to which France considers that this is the moment for dialogue. The Commission will conclude its analysis in the next two weeks. I hope that we can now have full transparency in this matter, and that all is done to ensure the full respect of community law, the Commission will do everything that is in its power to make the European Community law respected, this is not only our right, this is our duty according to the treaties.