ENAR press statement: Anti-Roma statements in France: a race to be the most outrageous?

by , under ENAR

MT comment: Taking into account the xenophobia gripping Europe these days and how far right, populist and even mainstream parties are vying for the anti-immigration vote, the same is going on in Finland. The victims are the most vulnerable groups  like Romany beggars. A story on YLE in English  reports that the National Coalition Party is planning – once again – to prohibit begging. The anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS) are strongly in favor as are the Christian Democrats

What a shameful stance by these parties. Nothing will be resolved not matter how many anti-begging laws you pass except for exacerbating the problem. 


Brussels, 10 July 2013 – On 7 July, Christian Estrosi, French Member of Parliament and Mayor of the city of Nice, made public racist statements targeting the Roma and Traveller population and threatened, among others, to install surveillance cameras in Roma and Traveller camps. A few days before, Jean-Marie Le Pen had made similar anti-Roma statements. The European Network Against
Racism (ENAR) strongly condemns this stigmatising competition using hate speech to gain electoral support and calls on politicians in France and across Europe to instead start proposing constructive solutions to ensure Roma inclusion – for the benefit of all.

Kuvankaappaus 2013-7-10 kello 15.58.28
Read original statement here.

ENAR Chair Sarah Isal said: “These anti-Roma statements are disgraceful, all the more so coming from Christian Estrosi, an elected representative of the mainstream UMP political party. Comments fuelling hatred and stigmatisation against any group on the basis of their ethnic or national origin have a particularly damaging impact when they come from public figures and politicians.”

Instead of proposing populist and ineffective repressive measures, French local politicians such as Estrosi should start by implementing the law requiring that towns with populations exceeding 5,000 provide suitable camping grounds for Traveller communities. This law has so far not been respected in Nice.

“Politicians should live up to their responsibilities as elected representatives to provide for all their citizens on an equal basis and not indulge in such dangerous and divisive statements. Together in  Europe, we can achieve great things. Let’s just do it”, said Isal.

Read ENAR statement here