“This is a situation I had thought Europe would not have to witness again after the Second World War.”
Viviane Reding, vice-president of the European Commission responsible for justice, fundamental rights and citizenship, says the expulsion of groups of Roma from France is a “disgrace”.
It is an extraordinary statement which does away with usual diplomatic language.
You can read her statement here.
Yes, rejuvenated after lying on the beach sipping cocktails for a month with Mrs Erasmus, I’m back to walk the corridors of European power.
What has been going on in Brussels during my absence? Anything much?
Belgium hasn’t got its own government but still holds the presidency of the EU, attempts to bring in some sort of regulation in the financial sector look to have been successful and France has begun expelling groups of Roma people back to Hungary and Romania. Meanwhile, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso is going all American and making the first European “State of the Union” address next week.
Join me from Monday for more daily news from Brussels.
Unless you want to feel the earth move, I wouldn’t go anywhere near Carcassonne in southern France this week.
Johnny, for one, is going to stay in his bunker in Brussels.
What the European Union is calling “a major European disaster simulation exercise” is taking place there all this week.
Officials are testing how good different countries are at co-operating during a major earthquake. It is the first European civil protection exercise since the Lisbon Treaty encouraged countries to work more closely together.
Little information is available but we are told that “command posts will work under realistic conditions in the field”.
The exercise is being organised by France and involves civil protection teams from Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Spain, while chiefs watch on from the European Commission’s spookily named Monitoring and Information Centre in Brussels.
Johnny says: “Stay calm everybody!”