Manifestation de Roms à Paris en 2007 photo Philippe Leroyer licence creative commons

 ”Stop the Raids” Roma protest in Paris – photo by Philippe Leroyer – creative commons license 3.0

The statement from the interior minister of France Manuel Valls gave new life to the tense relationship of France with the Roma community. Mr Valls said on France Inter radio [fr] on September 24 :

ces populations ont des modes de vie extrêmement différents des nôtres et qui sont évidemment en confrontation [avec les populations locales]“.

This community has a way of life that is very different from ours and their way is clearly at odds with the way of life of their neighbors.

The statement got plenty of reactions from the francophone community on twitter, some with a hint of sarcasm :

Roma people are the reasons for all of our misfortunes. It's because of them that more than 25% of youngsters in Europe are unemployed.

These families are caught between a rock and hard place: a declining Europe that rejects them and the mob that is getting richer

On a subject that was already quite sensitive for Human rights in France, the Minister's statement got him a warning from the Council of Europe:

Ce débat perpétue une tendance inquiétante vers une rhétorique anti-roms discriminatoire et incendiaire, et risque de prendre un virage dangereux avec les prochaines élections municipales et européennes.”

This debate is taking a worrisome path towards a narrative hostile and discriminatory towards the Roma community. It might also take a turn for the worse during the next European parliamentary and municipal elections.