Magazine article European Social Policy

Fight against Discrimination : Meps Censure Frattini over Roma Comments

Magazine article European Social Policy

Fight against Discrimination : Meps Censure Frattini over Roma Comments

Article excerpt

Strong criticism has been made of recent statements by Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini concerning the situation of Roma immigrants in Italy in a political resolution adopted by the European Parliament on 15 November.

The resolution, adopted with 306 votes for, 186 against, and 37 abstentions, states that recent comments by Commissioner Frattini, made to the Italian press, "were contrary to the spirit and the letter" of the EU's 2004 Directive on free movement (2004/38/EC), "a directive with which he is called upon to comply in full".

The remarks in question were made by Frattini in the aftermath of the murder of Italian citizen Giovanna Reggiani in Rome, and the subsequent arrest of a Romanian Roma Gypsy man on 30 October. The events led in turn to the adoption of an emergency decree, by the Italian government, giving new powers to local authorities regarding the expulsion of EU nationals. Frattini's comments appeared to emphasise the ability of Italian authorities to expel Romanian citizens, living in Gypsy camps in Italy, while still complying with Directive 2004/38/EC.

This direct criticism of Frattini's conduct was included in the resolution despite the opposition of the Parliament's EPP-ED and UEN groups, which had attempted to win support for an alternative text. A final request for the relevant paragraph to be removed from the resolution was made by Joseph Daul, chairman of the EPP-ED, immediately prior to the vote. This, was, however, strongly resisted by the leaders of the political groups which had sponsored the resolution, namely the PES, ALDE, Greens-EFA, and GUE-NGL. …

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