‘Extraordinary condemnation’ of French action adds to Sarkozy woes

The European Parliament has taken the extraordinary step of condemning the actions of the French government, hitting out at “inflammatory and openly discriminatory rhetoric” following its recent deportations of Roma people.

In a highly charged voting session at the European Parliament’s Strasbourg chamber, a highly critical resolution was passed by 337 votes to 245.

The text approved by MEPs not only criticises France’s mass deportations of Roma people but also hits out at the European Commission for its “late and limited response”.

The resolution was pushed through by an alliance of social democrat, green, liberal and far-left MEPs in the face of ardent opposition by the parliament’s centre-right majority.

The European People’s Party, which includes President Sarkozy’s UMP, had been fighting to stop the parliament from directly criticising the French government by proposing a different text that was also critical but stopped short of mentioning France by name.