Hundreds of Romanian Roma have been evicted from a camp on the outskirts of Croix in northern France, amid growing French opposition to Romania’s entry into Schengen.
Made under a court order, the eviction lasted a few hours and prompted an angry response from the camp’s inhabitants.
One member of the camp said the community of more than 220 was treated “worse than dogs” according to local media.
The action follows recent comments by the mayor of Croix, who said he was afraid of incidents that might occur between the locals and Roma.
It also follows mounting opposition to Romania’s entry into the Schengen zone within France’s political sphere, with Roma migration at the center of the issue.
French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius recently said that Romania was not ready to join the border-free zone next year.
His comments came in response to a question from a rightwing MP in the National Assembly.
French rightwing party the National Front has made the Roma immigration issue a central piece of their campaign in the municipal elections.
Romania and Bulgaria have been awaiting to join the Schengen area, after seven years of transition since entering the EU.
But the two countries’ joining the border-free area has been constantly blocked by various EU member states, including Finland and the Netherlands, which in September 2011 pointed to the local corruption and the lack of concrete actions against organized crime in both countries.
Earlier this year, Germany too said it would oppose Romania’s Schengen entry.
Shaun Turton firstname.lastname@example.org