France's Roma ouster a 'disgrace': EU body

France could be facing legal action from the European Commission over its expulsions of Roma if the anti-crime policy is found to break EU law on freedom of movement.

European Union executive arm will discuss legal action

A Roma stands next to a caravan in a makeshift camp in Pantin, on the northern outskirts of Paris, on Sept. 10, 2010. ((Francois Mori/Associated Press))

France is facing possible legal action from the European Commission for its policy of tearing down makeshift camps and deporting hundreds of Roma.

The deportations are a "disgrace" and probably break EU law on the free movement of people,  European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding said Tuesday.

European Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding speaks during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday. ((Virginia Mayo/Associated Press))

Reding, speaking in Brussels, said she is "appalled" by the expulsions and that discrimination based on ethnic origin or race "has no place in Europe."

"I am personally convinced that the commission will have no choice but to initiate infringement procedures against France," Reding said.

She did not define what action would be taken, but it's thought the disciplinary moves could include substantial fines.

Reding said a commission decision would be taken within two weeks. The case would then go before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, she said.

France has sent nearly 1,000 Roma back to Romania and Bulgaria in recent weeks. French authorities have also dismantled dozens of illegal camps. They say the moves are part of President Nicolas Sarkozy's anti-crime policy.

Reding said the policy gives the impression that people are expelled "just for being part of a minority."