France - Germany - EU

Roma cause France Germany spat

Reuters

A row between France and Germany over France’s expulsion of Roma people has been dismissed as a misunderstanding. Nicolas Sarkozy had claimed that German Chancellor Angela Merkel had offered him her support, and went on to say that Germany plans to do the same.

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However German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle says Germany has no intention of that and that it would run contrary to the German constitution. He went on to say that he expected it was all just a misunderstanding. 

Sarkozy made the claim after talks at a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels on Thursday.

Earlier, Merkel had publicly offered support for Sarkozy describing a parallel made by the EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding between the deportation of Roma from France and the persecution of gypsies and Jews in World War Two as “unfortunate”. 

Reding’s comments were attacked by Westerwelle as “absolutely unacceptable”. There has been severe criticism of France at the summit over the deportations, with legal action being threatened by European Commisson, and allegations that Sarkozy lost his temper in a row with the President of the European Commission. 

President Sarkozy is unrepentant, saying the expulsions will continue.

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