Monday 11 October 2010

EU citizenship: France’s Roma expulsions documented by CEPS

France’s expulsion of Roma shows that the rights of EU citizens are still in a formative phase, and issues of scope and exceptions concern other mobile Europeans as well.

The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) has published a welcome research paper on the French Roma affair:

Sergio Carrera and Anaïs Faure Atger: L’Affaire des Roms - A Challenge to the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (CEPS Paper in Liberty and Security in Europe, September 2010)

One of the important contributions is that the authors document the pronouncements and actions of the French government in detail. This is enough to make the paper a valuable reference tool for all interested, but it offers more.

Carrera and Faure Atger also present how the other players have acted, including the tardy and initially weak response by the European Commission, the ‘guardian of the Treaties’.

The paper reveals the weaknesses of the current EU law monitoring system, and it argues that the current ‘ex post’ enforcement tools are ineffective in halting breaches of EU fundamental rights. In cases like the Roma expulsions the European Union needs an ‘ex ante’ freezing order, which could be launched by the European Parliament, not only the Commission.

Ralf Grahn

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  1. Giving the EP resolutions more force when it comes to breaching EU citizen rights could be a good step to ensure that EU citizenship rights are more effectively enforced (and in a timely manner). Though it's not without its problems, as the... EP is a political body, just like the Commission is, and might not remain as activist as it is now. Indeed, if MEPs had more power in the area would they be less ready to use it?

    Perhaps a independent Citizenship Ombudsman for monitoring citizenship rights across the EU might be a better way to ensure independent action.

  2. Eurocentric,

    I agree that the argments for more effective and timely measures were convincingly put in the CEPS paper.

    However, I am afraid that the situation is not that different from Impeachment in the USA, very political.

    A stronger role for the European Parliament seems like a good idea, although far from perfect.

    An independent Ombudsman might be two bridges too far for the member states, who see themselves as the potential culprits.


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