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For at least a week now, the Roma issue has been grabbing the headlines everywhere in France. It’s not a first though, as the issue has been rehashed several times since 2010, brought to the forefront in particular during former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office. It was also one of the main topics of the presidential campaign last spring, explained by some as an attempt by Sarkozy’s party to regain the votes of the far right electors. The winner of the presidential election, socialist Francois Hollande, promised that the Roma issue would no longer be used as an electoral tool and his Interior Minister, Manuel Valls, said he wished the matter to be approached with “serenity”. Hinting at his right-wing predecessors, he said, quote: “If the debate is brought to the public attention the way it has been in the past years, we will solve nothing.” However, the serenity invoked by Valls has been lately replaced by harsh statements made by most politicians in France. The municipal elections are only six months away, and the stake is high. An estimated 20 thousand Roma ethnics are currently living in France, and they are often accused of stealing, begging and robbing. In other words, as Minister Manuel Valls himself stated, they do not want to be integrated. This is the main reason, though not overtly stated, why so many ruling and opposition politicians have called for another postponement of Romania’s Schengen accession, which should normally take place on January 1st, 2014. They are afraid that it would open the door to waves of Roma, whom nothing would prevent from coming. The social integration of the Roma population has nothing to do with Romania’s Schengen accession, and such issues should be avoided in an electoral context, the Romanian Foreign Ministry has stated. Romania and France have a strategic partnership, high-level meetings this year have been many and diverse, and the Paris officials have voiced their support for Romania’s Schengen accession, even in July, when Prime Minister Jean Marc Ayrault came to Bucharest. In his turn, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has given assurances that his government will keep on implementing the Roma integration strategy together with European Commission officials, as this is a responsibility Romania has not only to France but to the whole of Europe. Even so, the debate in France, fuelled by electoral stakes, is far from dying out, and Romania’s road to Schengen is only possible with the approval of all member states. Radio Romania INternational
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Povezane vesti na srpskom
Συναφείς Ειδήσεις στα Ελληνικά