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Roma Row Dominates EU Summit
Date 17/09/2010 11:35  Author webmaster  Hits 976  Language Global

17 SEP 2010

By Hans-Jürgen Schlamp | Spiegel

French President Nicolas Sarkozy had been hoping for support from his European colleagues in his spat with Brussels over France's controversial deportations of Roma. But he was disappointed at the EU summit on Thursday.  Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso attacked him with uncharacteristic vehemence -- and hardly anyone came to his support.

The signs of the approaching storm were visible early on. Shortly before Thursday's summit of European Union leaders in Brussels, French President Nicolas Sarkozy referred to the president of the European Commission as "Monsieur Barroso." It marked a noticeable contrast to the way that Sarkozy normally addresses Jose Manuel Barroso. Usually, he uses the informal second person pronoun "tu," or calls him "cher Jose Manuel" ("dear Jose Manuel") or "mon ami" ("my friend").

But the European Commission president has fallen out of favor in Paris -- Sarkozy made that very clear. What was also abundantly clear was that fact that the focus of Thursday's summit would not be the euro-zone reforms or the debt crisis in the spring, but the row over France's deportations of Roma.

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Germany denies Merkel said would clear Roma camps (Reuters)