EU Parliament head backs off from challenging France on Roma
European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek said he shied away from raising the issue of Roma expulsions in France at a European Union summit on Thursday, despite the assembly having approved a resolution condemning it a week earlier, DPA reported.
In a move backed by centre-left groups, EU lawmakers urged France's centre-right government to "immediately" stop the deportations. The European Commission also condemned the practice on Tuesday.
Buzek said "it would not have been very polite" to mention the topic during his customary speech at the start of EU summits, because EU president Herman Van Rompuy asked him to focus on official agenda topics such as budget reform and foreign policy.
"It would have not been very polite to my audience to start on different questions," Buzek said. "I was talking precisely about the topic of today's meeting, nothing else."
In his defence, Buzek said he touched upon the problems of poverty and social exclusion, which disproportionally affect the Roma population.