European Parliament Votes Against French Roma Expulsions

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A majority of European Members of Parliament vote against French expulsions of Roma migrants.

The vote, which took place in Strasbourg on Thursday, addressed France's deportation of around 1,000 Roma to Romania and Bulgaria over the past three months.

The vote passed by 377 in favor and 245 against.

France's policy has drawn widespread criticism from both within the country and abroad.

French officials have pledged to mobilize funds to help Roma in France return to Romania, and benefit from social inclusion programs there, but many say this does not address the problem.

The European Commission has asked France for evidence that its controversial campaign is in line with EU rules on discrimination, and the free movement of people.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has defended the expulsions in the context of a crackdown on foreign-born criminals.

Bucharest, however, says that of the hundreds of Romanian Roma expelled in recent weeks, not one has a criminal record.

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