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Roma deportations: Europeans offer alternative punishments for France

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On 29 September, the European commission reneged on a threat to sue the member state for its actions against an ethnic group. If the EU commission is lacking in inspiration (for controversy), here are some ideas

It's transpired that the EU is not taking action against France, who deported Roma minorities to fellow member states Bulgaria and Romania, who have the biggest Roma minorities in Europe, in September. Yet another opportunity missed to set clear standards in a pan-European debate. The tall call is the ‘improper transposition of EU law on freedom of movement’, but an ultimatum which has been set. France has to ‘come up with a calendar for transposition’ by 15 October. But they haven’t got away with it in the eyes of many exasperated young Europeans. The reaction from the Hexagon itself to Reding is reason enough for a handful of Europeansm featuring Germans, Italians, Poles, Romanians and Brits, to propose their own punitive measures.

The EU has only gone as far as a tongue-lashing in this episode

'Remember how Sarkozy’s became intensely cultured after first claiming that the French 17th century classic Princesse de Clèves was useless? He made it an instant bestseller, and subsequently pretended he had finally read it? One light measure could be along that line. Say, hold a public reading of Claude Lévi-StraussRace and History (1952) before an audience of Roma parents in France. Then in the guise of capital punishment, a round table in Bucharest. Guest speaker could be professor Rudolf Sarközi, the most famous Roma community spokesperson in Austria (Kulturverein)'

Emmanuel, France

'A ‘modest proposal’ for the European commission would be locking president Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni into a caravan for twenty-four hours, which would oblige them to sleep together at least once. Then we could publish a headline image of the first lady’s face post-orgasm on the Courrier International (a Paris-based French weekly on international press clippings), to illustrate the problem of western woman’s condition'

Federico, Italy

'Finally stop this ridiculous travelling European parliament thing, because one, having no fixed place and being constantly on the move is too Roma-esque, and France doesn't want the European parliament to be like the Roma, and two, a democratic EU institution cannot be moving to and from a place that doesn't respect free movement. So, bye bye Strasbourg, the EP must only sit in Brussels'

Daiva, Lithuania

'My infringement proceedings would be to replace the Marseillaise with manele music, a type of gypsy commercial music which even several Romanian citizens frowned upon when I tried to attempt to buy a CD of it in Bucharest. Apparently, the Romanian gypsy king's is available to buy, but even this upper tier of music would be too good for the French attitude, so voila – one month of manele instead of the Marseillaise. Alternatively European DJs could get together and remix the French national hymn. Inject a bit of humour into this poor affair'

Gretchen, UK

'I recommend a monthly European group therapy where the other heads of state play a few rounds of Chinese whispers started by Nicolas Sarkozy – and see what ugly truths pop out of the other end! It looks like they made use of it at an EU summit over his Roma-expulsion policy at 16 September. We quote: ‘Madame Merkel indicated to me her will to proceed in the coming weeks with the evacuation of camps.’ Who can up the ante?'

Katharina, Germany

'Nicolas Sarkozy wanted the EU justice commissioner to try welcoming France’s Roma minority in her hometown of Luxembourg instead of criticizing France’s expatriation-deportation of them. Throw the ball back in the other court; propose that the courageous commission organise an open day at the Elysee palace where the Arabs, Africans, Asians, Roma and Turks from across the whole of the European continent are subsquently summoned. Then a choice funfair to kick off the evening'

Matthieu, France

'The European parliament should have a special session during which president Jerzy Buzek will call Sarkozy to the board and ask him to write three words out one hundred times: liberté, égalité, fraternité. Televise Sarkozy's school punishement on the EuroparlTV programme live!'

Aleksandra, Poland

'Actually far worse (outrageous) things happening within the EU are not being addressed at all. This matter with the gypsies is so superficially treated by most western Europeans, that, if asked, could not say more than maybe two coherent phrases about gypsies. It's really upsetting me. Even with all the hype, it's not such a big topic. At the same time, I do not consider France did anything illegal. I am firmly convinced that in a regular court of law they could not have been prosecuted. It's only under an out-of-reality EU human rights court that MAYBE some ruling could have been pronounced against France'

Alexander, Romania

Images: main, 'Europe's sitting ducks' (cc) schoeband; 'Thanks, Sarkozy' (cc) jack-i; both courtesy of Flickr

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Translated from Merci Sarkozy: So hätte die EU-Kommission Frankreichs Roma-Diskriminierung bestrafen können