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Rethinking People in the Context of Border Controls and Visas

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When immigration policy and the treatment of Roma collide in international relations there are surprising consequences which are revelatory of the underlying tensions between internal and external policies in the European Union. This book examines the relationship of citizenship, ethnicity and international relations and how these three aspects of the State, its people and its neighbours relate to one another.

It studies the wide issue of international relations, citizenship and minority discrimination through the lens of the case study of European Roma who seek refugee status in Canada on account of their persecution in Europe. The volume assesses the relationships among citizenship, state protection and persecution and minority status, and how they can intersect with and destabilize foreign affairs.

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The central background to the book is the European treatment of Roma, their linkages with visa and asylum policies and their human rights repercussions. The various contributions reveal how modern liberal democracies can find themselves in contradictory positions concerning their citizens - when these are looking for protection abroad - and foreigners - in search of international protection - as a consequence of visa and pre-border surveillance policies and practices.

Seller Inventory LHB At the same time, the Commission claimed not to have obtained objective, material, and concrete evidence in what concerned discrimination. On the basis of this new Strategy, close cooperation and enhanced efforts on Roma inclusion is taking place with the active participation of France. European Commission As previously mentioned, even the first declarations on the issue from Vice-President Reding linked the situation to the integration of the Roma.

Next steps listed 5 action points, all of which referred to Roma. The rest of the paragraph, as well as all other actions concerned Roma integration. Once the issue of violation of the fundamental rights of the Roma got lost in the high-level politics debate in Brussels , the categorical condemnation of the discriminatory actions of the French Government was later altogether replaced with debates over the integration of the Roma.

Immigration Reading List, 3/22/13 | Center for Immigration Studies

As I mentioned before, though a relation between lack of integration and discrimination and violation of rights by state authorities might be established, it is unclear how projects of integration which produce effects on the long term would have been the adequate response for the immediate cessation of fundamental rights violation. Anti-discrimination seems to be the important absence in the EU Framework Communication which has the explicit goal of guiding social inclusion. The Commission appeals to the member states for implementation of policies, but the document does not take into consideration that the national governments might lack even the mere political will to put the Roma issue on their agenda.

As this paper has shown, governments do not hold back from exacerbating the deep-rooted anti-Roma sentiment. When dealing with the campaigns of collective evictions and expulsions, the Commission did not demonstrate to be unequivocal in its reaction to discriminatory behaviour by member states.

The Framework Communication does not list existing legal instruments and measures to fight against discrimination at EU level. The absence of anti-discrimination in the Framework can be linked to what Sobotka and Vermeersch consider new assumptions at the basis for EU action to encourage Roma inclusion.


Namely, the EU increased emphasis on socio-economic inclusion in order to change matters more profoundly and more rapidly for the Roma, while still engaging in promoting norms on anti-discrimination and fundamental rights. The Framework fails though to make any reference to the historical or cultural contextualisation of the notion of integration Goodwin and Buijs The rest of the document focuses on the economic advantages of Roma inclusion almost as if it were a selling point for governments to make the extra effort.

There is no consideration on how the mentioned intolerance and discrimination are not only a consequence of economical exclusion, but a cause of it too. The document puts forward an expectation that inclusion will take place with the help of European Union funding and an extra effort of good will on both sides.

Having been committed to the larger common goal of membership, independent member states are expected to accept the norms and will cooperate for the development social policies and use more of the available funding for the benefit of the Roma population Vermeersch The events concerning the Roma migrants are just one episode of the many in the post economic downturn EU which contradict the expectation that the member states are willing to conform to norms out of a concern about their reputation and therefore responsive to shaming by the other EU political actors Schimmelfennig Additionally, the Framework does not take into account that, for minorities, political status is regulated by perceptions of belonging.

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Minorities such as the Roma migrants from Eastern Europe are not perceived as belonging McGarry despite the legal status, i. European Union citizens enjoying the right of crossing freely the EU member states borders. By defining the policy target group mainly through social criteria such as poverty, exclusion, and marginalisation, the social stigma invoked by these criteria falls on the entire Roma minority Mirga-Kruszelnicka The lack of any reference to the migrant Roma, and the continuous limitation to policies in the country of origin, seem to indicate a failure to acknowledge spatial mobility as an answer to the barriers for socio-economic mobility in the state of origin.

In this context, the European Union Framework and its focus on inclusion can be interpreted as yet another example of how particularism of the member states is stretched at the level of the entire Union. While for a vast majority of the Roma, spatial mobility is undesirable and criminalised, and the decade-long plans for integration in the home country fail to show results, there seem to be little solutions left for breaking the trap of mutually reinforcing patterns of poverty and discrimination.

Rather on the contrary, discrimination was reframed in order to project an essentialised view of a homogeneous, problematic, or even threatening Roma population. The discourses of integration do not imply a responsibility for the respect of the rights of the Roma, but rather the expression into a European Union framing of the discourses of the deviant Roma. The European Parliament resolution of 9th September refers to specific articles of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, in an order of the relevance for the given situation.

Professor Didier Bigo

Similarly are mentioned Articles 2 and 3 of the Treaty on European Union, which lays down the fundamental rights and principles underpinning the European Union, including the principles of non-discrimination and free movement. At the next point, the resolution refers to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, starting with Articles 8, 9, and 10 which regard equality, social inclusion, and discrimination.

Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Open Access. First Online: 19 June In the current case, the issue at stake is the targeting for eviction and expulsion of a particular ethnic group. The ethnic targeting of Roma migrants was confirmed by a document circulated by the French Ministry of Interior which was leaked to the media. In this document, the state representatives in the departments received the indication to give priority to the Roma settlements as the primary objective of the evictions and expulsions.

On the 5th of August , police chiefs received from the Interior Minister the message that: Three hundred camps or illegal settlements must be evacuated within three months; This article questions whether, in order to pursue its policy of evacuation and expulsions, the French Government interpreted the European legislation on the free movement of EU citizens in a way that justified disregarding protection against discrimination. I will argue in the following sections that once embroiled in the high politics of the Union, the issue of full enforcement of human rights legislation for the Roma migrants became a secondary aspect of the situation.

The resolution of the whole affair involved a tacit agreement that exceptional measures in breach of the human rights principles of the Union, continue be taken against the Roma. One the one side, it is implied that the Roma migration is a criminal problem. This line of argumentation does not differ very much from the position of President Sarkozy at the debut of the campaign. The terms used are softer, but the direct association of an ethnic group—in its entirety—with crime is verbalised clearly.

The interchangeable use of Roma and traffickers is still there, reference being made specifically to that of people trafficking. What is important to remember is that the collective expulsions have not until now been the outcome of criminal investigations. The majority of those sent back to Romania have not been proven criminals.

In terms of rhetoric, it seems nothing much has changed. The discriminatory rhetoric withstood the change of government as well as the critiques. Like other resolutions of the European Parliament, the one adopted on September 9th on the situation of Roma and on freedom of movement in the European Union, was not legally binding for the member states. Points A to L of the resolution are an acknowledgement of the particular situation of the Roma in Europe. The first call to action, at point 1 of the resolution: recalls that the European Union is above all a community based on values and principles designed to maintain and promote an open and inclusive society and EU citizenship, particularly by prohibiting all forms of discrimination European Parliament In April , the Commission acted on the commitment it took in the Joint Information note at point If it were to be considered the direct effects it has on the discrimination of migrant Roma within EU, the framework is not relevant.

Any impact it might have is indirect and, nonetheless, on the long term. Despite the evidence that the evictions and expulsions have continued as indicated in several reports by institutions and NGOs Amnesty International 2 , the Commission had reached by the conclusions that: the situation has changed considerably in the last few years. In terms of wording chosen for the report, one can notice the lack of reference to allegations of discrimination and collective expulsions.

One first argument why such reference should have been made is that these allegations were present in the declarations of the Parliament and of the Commission. The Charter does not use the term integration specifically but in the case of people with disabilities, at Article As there was no reference to discrimination, though the events in were purposefully mentioned, one can argue that the report does not distinguish between discrimination and integration and uses the later as a synonym for the former. Discrimination was not part of the national integration strategies and was not part of the reporting actions of the Member States.

The French National Integration Strategy, which the report names, did not cover the discrimination and fundamental rights challenges inherent to the situation of immigrant Roma Carrera One is left to wonder if the change of law had made any difference for the Roma migrants, especially that the evictions and expulsions had continued. The report does not cover this issue, nor does the Roma Integration Strategy.