France, Roma, and the EU

France may face legal action from the European Union over its expulsion of more than 8,000 Roma, the term used to describe gypsies from Eastern Europe. The EU has given France until October 15th to show that the expulsions were lawful. International relations professor William Keylor, author of “A World of Nations: The International Order Since 1945” and an authority on the history of modern France, gives an historical perspective.

“If President Sarkozy has singled out Roma in France for expulsion based on their ethnicity, then the policy is patently discriminatory and the French government fully deserves the harsh criticism to which it has been subjected.

“But Commissioner Reding’s implied comparison between the eviction of the Roma in 2010 and Hitler’s policies during World War II is outrageous. The Nazis did not just expel the Roma within the territories they controlled. They systematically exterminated thousands of them as well as six million Jews. A sense of proportion is called for here.”

Contact William Keylor, 617-358-0197,

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