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Sarah's speech to the European Parliament about Roma discrimination

September 7, 2010 4:01 PM

Sarah Ludford (ALDE). - Mr President, Vice-President Reding has certainly convinced me that she will take this question seriously, and that she is working hard on it with her colleagues.

However, like others, I am impatient to hear what the Commission's judgment is on whether France has broken EU law or not. I hope we will hear that very soon, and whether the Commission intends to take infringement proceedings against France - and indeed any other Member States that deserve it - for breach of the Free Movement Directive.

As others have said, I accept that there are restrictions on residence rights under the Free Movement Directive, and indeed under the - regrettable - transitional arrangements for accession, but we want to hear from the Commission precisely whether these have been breached.

One aspect that has not been mentioned elsewhere - and this is a very sensitive question, and which allows the French Government to wriggle out of the question of ethnic discrimination - is that France does not collect ethnic data. So when Minister Lalouche said at a meeting I attended that one in four young people arrested in France were of Romanian nationality he was absolving himself from saying that they were Roma.