EU welcomes French Roma plans, but wants quick action

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The European commission on Thursday welcomed France’s plans to open its labour market to Roma migrants, most of them from Romania or Bulgaria.

The French government also agreed on scrapping the current tax employers have to pay to hire nationals from the two countries. This tax can be as high as 1800 euros per worker.

Brussels urged the French authorities to lift the existing working restrictions as soon as possible.

Earlier this month, the French police evicted over 300 Roma migrants and dismantled the illegal camps they were living in, creating a huge controversy.
France’s socialist government was accused of following the steps of former conservative president Nicolas Sarkozy, who expelled a large number of Roma migrants during his mandate.

Brussels has already warned France they should come up with alternative housing solutions for those living in the destroyed camps.

Around 11 million Roma people live in Europe, making them the largest ethnic minority in the continent. There are still strict working restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens in some EU countries such as the UK or the Netherlands. Under European law, they will have to be lifted by 2013.

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