In August of 2010, the French government began a program of deporting those Roma who lived within the country. Under European Union (EU) law, mass expulsions based on ethnicity are forbidden, as are mass examinations of peoples as opposed to individual assessments in the case of a crime. However, in the spirit of egalitarianism, France does not acknowledge the idea of racial or ethnic minorities. Instead, they have reframed the non- French Roma as a group engaged in criminal activity following Italy’s “security package” of 2008, which described ‘nomads’ as a national security threat and created legislation leading to expulsions of non-Italian Roma. By framing the Roma as a criminal group as opposed to an ethnic minority (that may be engaging in criminal activity), France is able to justify its actions in targeting the Roma people writ large instead of looking at each criminal case on a case-by-case basis. My resulting research question is: if we assume that the Roma are an ethnic minority in France, what obligations does the EU have in enforcing their rights in a member state that does not acknowledge the concept of “ethnic minority”? This paper will look at the French repatriation program and use Critical Race Theory as a framework to critique the situation and examine how EU-level policy could change the position of the Roma in France.



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