We reported earlier on the threat by EC Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding to institute infringement proceedings against France in respect of its expulsion of Roma and the dismantling of their encampments. It seems now that the Commission itself may not have the stomach for an action expressly based on the ban on discrimination in the EC Treaty and the Free Movement Directive.
As the Darren O’Donavan reports in Human Rights in Ireland,
The Commission decided to threaten a less controversial legal action against France for not having correctly transposed the Free Movement Directive into national legislation.
Any legal process against France for failing to adopt in full all the safeguards of the 2004 Directive will have interesting fallout in the light of the fact that France is by no means alone – a number of member states have not transposed the Directive at all. President Sarkozy may well regard this toothless threat as something of a victory, as, in the words of David Charter in the Times:
The decision effectively allows France to continue dismantling encampments provided that those to be expelled are treated as individuals and not members of a group.
France has two weeks to consider what action to take to respond to the Commission’s proposals.