France's Europe minister fires back at Reding
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France fought back Wednesday at EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding's criticism of its expulsion policy, calling her rebuke, which included a comparison to World War II-era deportations, a "gaffe."
"This kind of gaffe that she made is unseemly," Europe Minister Pierre Lellouche
told RTL radio the day after the European Union's top justice official criticised French mass deportations of the Roma minority and threatened legal action against Paris.
A fiery Lellouche said that he could not sit by and allow Reding to compare the current administration to the Vichy regime.
"A plane ticket to one's country of origin in the European Union is not a death train, and is not the gas chamber," he said. "This kind of slip...is not acceptable, and it doesn't help the situation."
France has faced mounting international criticism since President Nicolas Sarkozy in August stepped up its deportations of Roma to Romania and Bulgaria as part of a security clampdown.
Referring to Reding's remark that she had had enough and that her patience had its limits, the minister warned that "this is not how you speak to a major power like France, which is the mother of human rights."
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