June 27, 2018

An eye on Latcho Drom, a film documenting the musical journey of the Romani population from India to Europe.

Pope Francis called Monday for a fresh start for Roma and Sinti communities, telling traveller families from around the world they could break free of prejudice by not falling into crime.

The French are checking their pockets and searching their souls. The problem is the in-your-face presence of a few thousand Roma immigrants, mostly from Bulgaria and Romania, who are blamed for petty thievery, begging, camping illegally on public lands, sleeping under bridges or on grates in the city street and a host of minor crimes that the French authorities seem unable to control.

This week, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said his statement that only “a minority of Roma” want to integrate in France only shocked those “who don’t know the issue”. But as someone who has researched and followed this issue, I am shocked. When I asked Roma families in France about their lives, hopes and the challenges they face, they wished for the same things we all do: to work, to live in dignity, and togive their children a good education.

The chamber in the Municipal Court of Budapest was packed, observers crammed into sweaty overflow rooms staring at closed circuit television screens and anxiously awaiting the verdict. As these rooms filled, an unwieldy queue formed outside as an incongruous gaggle of journalists, victims' family, and some skinhead supporters of the accused implored court officials to let them in to hear the verdict. Arpad Kiss, his brother Istvan, their friend Zsolt Peto, and accomplice Istvan Csontos stood dead-eyed in front on the judge, flanked by masked policemen.

September 23, 2010

IT WAS operation damage control this week, as the Elysée tried to revive the president’s standing abroad after sharp criticism of his expulsion of Romanies...For all the president’s defiance, the French have been knocked by the response to the Romani row. Fully 71% of respondents to one poll said that they thought France’s image abroad had been tainted.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday that the European Union needs a continent-wide plan for illegal Gypsy camps and children beggars that he described as plagues of the 19th century. At the same time, the EU justice commissioner maintained her concerns about France's expulsions of more than 1,000 Gypsies, or Roma, in recent weeks

It is arguably modern Europe's flagship ideal: the freedom to move across borders and seek a better life elsewhere. But in the Europe of Nicolas Sarkozy, Silvio Berlusconi, and others, the privilege has its limits -- and its paradoxes. Effectively excluded, it seems, is the one group singly most identified with a nomadic and peripatetic existence: the continent's 10 million-strong Romany population.