Source: IPS News
Roma gypsies are routinely described as Europe’s largest ethnic minority. Numbering between 10 and 16 million, their combined population exceeds that of many European Union countries. Yet their numerical strength offers no compensation for the poverty, persecution and scapegoating that the Roma have to endure — or for how their welfare is accorded a low priority by the EU’s institutions.
That few Brussels officials pay much attention to the situation facing Roma has been exemplified in recent weeks as Nicolas Sarkozy’s government in France effectively declared a war against gypsies. When the Paris authorities announced in late July that they had authorised the systematic destruction of Roma camps and the large-scale expulsion of Roma to Bulgaria and Romania, the European Commission initially insisted that the surrounding matters concerned national EU governments only.