PM: Czechs should have been invited to ministerial meeting in Paris


Prime Minister Petr Nečas on Monday criticized the French authorities for failing to invite the Czech Republic, as well as a number of other EU member states, to a ministerial meeting in Paris that is to discuss the expulsion of Bulgarian and Romanian Romanies from France. The meeting is due next Monday when Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg is scheduled to pay an official visit to Paris. Mr. Nečas said the selection of participants was a display of contempt and arrogance that does not further good relations among EU countries. Romania and Bulgaria, whom the problem directly concerns, have not been invited either. In an interview for Saturday’s daily Lidové noviny the Czech foreign minister criticized the ongoing expulsions. He said it was impossible not to suspect that a racist perspective played a role in the expulsions and added that they were contrary to the spirit and rules of the 27-strong European Union. He later softened his stand.