- Oct 28, 2007
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
The Roma repatriation
Gavin Hewitt | 12:00 UK time, Thursday, 19 August 2010
It is a desperate way to survive. In many European cities you can find women begging for money. Many of them are Roma. They squat on the Champs Elysees. They stand by the Brandenburg gate in Berlin or in the square at Alexanderplatz. Many carry children and some have cards asking for money. They sit on the stairs leading out of the metro station at Avenue Louise in Brussels. They crowd around the entrances to the Gare du Nord in Paris.
There is evidence that much of the begging is organised and controlled by men. The women are expected to bring in at least 50 euros a day. Some, like outside the Gare Du Nord, operate in groups of up to 15. The police believed that invalids and children, who are used to gain sympathy, are shared out between the groups.
It is the view of the French president that begging is part of a wider deeper problem involving some of the Roma. He believes that illegal Roma camps on the edge of French cities are a linked to serious crime. The Elysee Palace explained that the Roma camps were "sources of illegal trafficking, profoundly shocking living standards, the exploitation of children for begging, prostitution and crime."
Other countries have recently taken action against Roma groups. Demark has expelled some of them, so has Sweden. Germany has paid some to return to Bulgaria or Romania, where most of them originate from.
Gavin Hewitt: BBC Blog
Repatriation is unlikely to work - we're talking about a real clash of culture here between residential Nationals and nomadic immigrants. From their point of view, they're making the most of opportunities our societies give them and from our point of view - many of us see them as unsightly beggars.
Many years ago, I spent two summers working with Irish "Travellers" / Gypsy kids in London as a volunteer between my Masters academic years at a BMX track in Hammersmith. The kids were hated by the locals who thought they would steal the other kids bikes and that this was money badly spent.
I liked the Gypsy kids but I could also see that their lifestyle was hated by others - I can imagine this is the same everywhere Gypsies and Travellers live.