French President Nicolas Sarkozy has fanned controversy at the EU Summit this week by defending the Roma deportations amidst opposition to France’s actions by other European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. As BBC states:
During the summit, Mr Sarkozy clashed with the European Commission over the matter of Roma deportations.
Since August, France has dismantled about 200 Roma settlements and deported about 1,000 of their inhabitants to Romania and Bulgaria. It has also evicted French nationals from illegal traveller settlements.
Earlier this week, the EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding had appeared to compare France’s actions to persecutions in Nazi-occupied France.
“The disgusting and shameful words that were used – World War II, the evocation of the Jews – was something that shocked us deeply,” Mr Sarkozy said.
He then went on to have a heated exchange with the EU Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso.
This is an unprecedented row between Brussels and Paris, our correspondent says.