SARKOZY HAS WON A BATTLE BUT HE HAS NOT WON THE WAR
Finally it happened what we feared. What we foresaw that could happen. Especially after hearing the statements of the Heads of State and Government of the European Union member countries after the Brussels Summit of last September 16th. Allow us not say it by ourselves, since we could be accused of bias, and probably with good reason. It has been said by the journalists and by the most independent political analysts. Here there are some headlines:
- Brussels surrenders to Sarkozy in the controversy over the expulsion of rromà.
- The European Commission declines to sanction France.
- Brussels backs off and accepts France’s explanations.
- France welcomes out having been successful.
- Brussels declines to sanction France for discrimination against the rromà.
- The Élysée welcomes the decision of the European Commission.
- The EU executive accepts Sarkozy's argument that the deportations were fair and legal.
- Commissioner Reding assumes that France will not end in court.
- Political pulse on the EU’s fundamental rights. Brussels gives way to France in the evictions of rromà.
- The European Commission declines to take disciplinary measures against Paris for discrimination.
- The charge of discrimination was very serious and the European Commissioners did not dare to maintain it, above all, so as not to face France.
And as these, many more.
The Permanent Commission of the Romani Union, which met urgently to review the statement issued by the Commission, after its meeting yesterday in which for more than two hours they debated about the deportation of Romanian and Bulgarian rromà made by the French Government, must make the following clarifications:
First: We would like to express once again our deep disappointment at the outcome of the deliberations made by the Commissioners. The transcription of the previous headlines, with which we agree, can be a good catalyst of our mood.
Second: Once again, the political leaders of our European institutions get lost in a tangle of words that, in the end, say nothing that has not been said before. But this terminology, where everything is mixed, which speaks of legal obligations and at the same time focuses on social programs, which detects formal breaches of the European directives but also says that the Commission takes care of the compliance of the Human Rights enshrined in the Treaties, in the end always causes damages to the weakest and to the most defenseless.
Third: The second point of the Declaration of the Commission is a good proof of that. It says that the "Member States are responsible and have the right to take measures to protect the security and the public order in their territory". Statement with which we agree and consider necessary. But, at the same time, the Commission says that the States, "in doing so, must respect the rules established in the 2004 directive on free movement". Which is an obvious incongruity since the Commission knows and the experts also know that France has not yet transposed this Directive into its national law. This reason should be enough, taking into account the treatment that the rromà have suffered in the past months, to initiate disciplinary proceedings. It has not been done. And condescending to the French Presidency, as it is done with poor students, the Commission gave Sarkozy a period of two weeks to at least send a draft in which he explains the way in which he is going to implement the directive on free movement to their own national laws.
Fourth: It is patently clear that the French Government has violated the fundamental rights of the European Union citizens. It has acted in a discriminatory way against Romanian and Bulgarian Gypsies and it has done it against them due to their belonging to an ethnic minority. The whole world has seen that (except, obviously, those who do not want to see it). But above all, it has been evidenced by the European Parliament which adopted a few days ago an exemplary resolution which condemned the deportations made in France, and so expressed it last week the Justice Commissioner, Vivian Reding, by saying: "I am personally convinced that the Commission will not have any other choice than to open infringement proceedings against France for the discriminatory application of the Directive on Freedom of Movement and for failing to transpose the procedural and substantive safeguards of the Directive on Freedom of Movement".
Fifth: The European Commission has deeply disappointed us because it has not had the necessary courage to open proceedings on discrimination against the French government before the Court of Justice of the European Union. This is the most serious offence, according to the Romani Union’s opinion, made by President Sarkozy, since pursuing, discriminating and deporting a group of people, just because they are Gypsies, crushes into pieces the foundations of the European Union and renders invalid the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Sixth: We see with sorrow that the French president, aware of the importance of the country he rules and knowing that few would have the courage to stand up against him, has gotten away with it. All the public opinion knows about the bitter confrontation he had with the President of the Commission, José Manuel Duaro Barroso, with regard to the statements of the Commissioner Vivienne Reding. On that occasion, President Sarkozy said in a menacing way that if the European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against his government he will consider it a "declaration of war".
Seventh: Without giving a shot, without drawing the sword from its scabbard, Sarkozy has already won this battle. He has had, before him, a herd of defenseless men and women which, armed only with the courage so as not to not starve, have used the opportunity given by the law to settle in a place where at least they had the hope to survive. His "declaration of war" has not been against their colleagues of the Committee -what a sad role have played Romania and Bulgaria’s Governments which have remained dead silent!- but against children and elderly people, who came for the first time to a land where the first ones could hope for an encouraging future in freedom and where the second ones could end their lives in a more decent way than in their homelands.
Eighth: President Nicolas Sarkozy has won this battle, but he has not won the war. Since us, from the extreme humility of our origins, from the absolute lack of economic resources, will get even if it is necessary crawling, to the Court of Justice of the European Communities so as to let the judges, the 27 judges of the Court, issue a statement that we do not doubt will be exemplary and will condemn the French Government.
By the Romani Union
Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia