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EU Warns France on Roma Deportations

The European Union is considering disciplinary action against France for the country's ongoing evictions of Roma (Gypsy) migrants.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, speaking Tuesday, called the deportations "a disgrace" and said they possibly break EU law.

Reding also criticized Paris for claiming it was not discriminating against the Roma in its deportations, saying a leaked French government memo openly contradicts that claim.

In Paris, the French Foreign Ministry expressed dismay at the EU commissioner's statement. A ministry spokesman said he did not think the EU minister's comments can improve conditions for Roma.

Since mid-August, France has deported more than 1,000 Roma to Romania and Bulgaria, and dismantled more than 100 of their camps, in a move that President Nicolas Sarkozy calls a crackdown on crime.

The European Parliament voted last week in favor of a resolution demanding that France halt the expulsions.

Human Rights Watch Tuesday called on Paris to heed calls from the 27-nation bloc. The group also asked the government to ensure that evictions from unauthorized Roma camps do not leave people homeless.

Amnesty International has called on the French government to stop what it called France's "cycle of discrimination."

Roma are the largest minority in Europe. There are estimated to be as many as 12 million Roma in EU countries, with 15,000 living in France.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.