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France, Romania to succeed in finding European solution to Roma issue: PM


08:25, July 12, 2013

BUCHAREST, July 11 (Xinhua) -- Visiting French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Thursday that France and Romania will succeed in finding a European solution to the Roma issue.

"You have tackled the minority Roma population's integration with much courage," Ayrault, who started Thursday his two-day official visit to Romania, said at a joint news conference with his Romanian counterpart Victor Ponta.

Ayrault assured Ponta of France's support and of Europe's support to the issue.

Ponta said the Roma minority's integration is "an important challenge" to his country, underscoring that Romania assumes all the responsibilities incumbent upon it in this respect.

"The medium- and long-term solution consists in the Roma minority's integration here, in Romania and we obviously need cooperation, we need support so that this medium- and long-term goal should be achieved," Ponta said.

"We are firmly convinced that by investments in education, in the creation of jobs, in better living conditions here, in Romania for the Roma minority's representatives we can have long-term results," he said.

Ponta said he appreciated the French government's constructive position and support of "a correct, constructive and pragmatic approach" to the Roma issue.

Ponta added there had been excellent cooperation between Romanian and French police on combating illegal deeds, while Ayrault stressed that the police and judges' cooperation between the two countries has been strengthened to eliminate big-criminality rings.

In France, there are a great number of Roma people, also known as Gypsies, who come from Romania and Bulgaria living in illegal urban camps throughout the country.

In 2012, more than 12,000 citizens of Romania and Bulgaria, nearly all of them Roma people, were deported from France, an increase of 18.4 percent compared to the previous year, according to official statistics.

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