Viviane Reding, the European commissioner for justice, today said that the European Commission was dropping plans to take legal action against France for failing to implement EU law on free movement of persons.
Reding had threatened legal action against France for not respecting legal rights enshrined in EU law when it expelled thousands of Roma to Romania and Bulgaria.
The Commission made its decision after examining plans sent by France on Friday (15 October) on complying with EU rules on free movement.
“Following the official commitments made by France last Friday, the European Commission will, for the time being, not pursue the infringement procedure against France,” Reding said.
The information given to the Commission includes draft legislative measures and plans to ensure changes to French immigration law are implemented by the spring, Commission officials said.
They said changes to French law would take into account EU rules to ensure that any expulsions are not made on the basis of ethnicity or targeting specific groups. The changes will commit France to assess each expulsion order on a case-by-case basis, taking into account social situation and age.
The Commission had set a 15 October deadline for France to present legislative changes or face legal action after an EU investigation into the expulsion of thousands of Roma indicated France was not complying with free movement rules. It said that rights and safeguards offered by the free movement regulation were not “fully effective and transparent” in French law.
The French government announced on Friday that it would fully implement the 2004 rules on free movement, which bolster the rights of EU citizens to appeal against arbitrary, discriminatory or disproportionate expulsion orders.
A second investigation, into whether France violated European discrimination rules, is still ongoing. Officials said a result into that investigation could come in a month’s time.
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