Monday 20 September 2010

“Romagate”: Out of sight, out of mind?

“Out of sight, out of mind” is a very human reaction to the appearance of Roma beggars and camps. It would be easiest, if the sight would kindly evaporate. However, we have to realise that this is not going to happen. Thus, we have to expect more from our governments, at local, regional, national and European level - and from ourselves.

Someone had to push the red button, was Basteiro’s comment (in Spanish) on Viviane Reding’s statement about the anti-Roma campaign and cover-up of the French government.

One step towards more constructive attitudes and sustainable solutions to seemingly intractable problems is the feeling of shame expressed by French Eurobloggers because of the plans and actions of the government in France.

Greg Henning on EU Weekly described statements emanating from the ruling majority as ‘stupidities’, but deplored the anti-European rhetoric as the worst fallout.

Cédric Puisney, on Un européen jamais content, asked if France is the new shame of Europe. Since the departure of François Mitterand and Jacques Delors, France in Europe is a botched affair.

Euros du Village spoke about the devastation brought by dishonour.

The French version of Presseurop is filled with European voices on France and the Roma question on the thematic page ‘Roms’.

According to Regards citoyens, France seems to be causing a split between the government and the nation, as well as breaking with its historical role in the European Union and Europe in general, by replacing the rule of law with intergovernmental power. If this is what the government wants, why not submit withdrawal from the European Union and the renouncement of EU citizenship to the electorate in a referendum?

Other European voices

I would also like to mention a few examples of European voices outside France.

J Peter Burgess takes a philosophical view of the interplay between discrimination, national and European citizenship, although it may take long for things to settle.

Daniel Mason on The Endless Track sees it as a good thing that the Commission is prepared to take a principled stand against one of the most powerful EU member states, but it should be done without referring to the Nazis. The EU should be working with the French and other governments to find a workable solution to the problem.

Charlemagne’s notebook offers advice to all sides: Don’t mention the war. However, none of the leaders at the European Council seems to have questioned the commission’s prerogative in investigating possible breaches of European law, and president Nicolas Sarkozy may yet annoy the chancellor Angela Merkel.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. The multilingual aggregator for EU related blogs keeps growing. There are now 669 Euroblogs listed on You can take a look at the stream of all new posts, or follow the entries highlighted by the editors. You can also subscribe to the streams and the newsletters without cost. needs a few more voluntary editors to tag posts according to subjects. Why not keep informed by reading about European affairs, improve your language skills and do something useful by joining the team of editors?

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