‘Send them back’ where?
Back in June 2012 when Valls entered office many thought he might offer a welcome relief to the travelling community. Instead, he has revealed himself as an adherent to Nicolas Sarkozy’s “not our problem” way of thinking.
After Valls’s admission of “truth” on Wednesday he went on to defend the government’s razing of Roma camps, which has seen more than 8,000 people made homeless in 2013 alone.
Under the flimsy pretence of trying to help, the government has been putting homeless Roma on flights to Romania and Bulgaria with 300 euros cash-in-hand. The initiative, launched in 2005 and accelerated by then president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010, has been criticised not only as totally irresponsible but also as a total waste of money.
Some 10,000 people are flown back and paid off each year, but most of them admit to having no plans of staying in Bucharest, where they face abuse and discrimination worse than in France. The Roma deportees my colleagues spoke to on arrival in the Romanian capital admitted that they would be making their way straight back to France with the 300 euros pocketed.
France’s Roma population has remained stable – between 15,000 and 20,000 – for years (it is not spiralling or booming, as scaremongers would have you think).
A people who have spent decades here, who speak the language, who identify as French, and who are EU citizens, cannot be brushed off as somebody else’s problem.
Instead of promising to get rid of the “Roma problem” ahead of municipal elections next year, Valls and his peers should be thinking up new ways to integrate this vulnerable group. Razing their homes and deporting them is only going to lead to more homelessness, poverty, and – inevitably – crime. And that’s not an election promise anyone wants to buy into.
via The ‘truth’ is France’s Roma are France’s problem – not Romania’s | Les blogs.