22 SEP 2010
By Honor Mahony
EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding is standing firm in her ongoing row with France over its controversial Roma policy, refusing to apologise and arguing that the reaction to the harsh words she aimed at Paris last week would have been different if she was a man.
Speaking in a public forum for the first time since her comparison of France's deportation of Roma to events in World War II - remarks that provoked fury in Paris - Ms Reding on Tuesday (21 September) said "No, Why?" when asked directly whether she would apologise for the comments.
The Luxembourgish politician, now in her third term as commissioner, said she believed she had been "strengthened" by the resulting polemic.
"If a man bangs his fist on the table, it is considered manly, he is defending himself. If a woman bangs her fist on the table she is hysterical," she told reporters in Strasbourg, according to AFP news agency.
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