A French far-right elected official has gotten himself in hot water with a wacky suggestion about how the government can help fund the cost of housing the country’s growing number of migrants.
Faced with a growing migrant population, the communist mayor of Isere, a town in southeastern France, reiterated during a town hall meeting Friday the city’s commitment to launching a housing program to accommodate nomadic people from the Roma community, colloquially known in English as ‘gypsies.’ The program is part of a regional housing plan.
But as soon as he uttered those words, Frank Sisini, member of Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party, retorted: “To house the Roma, I think there could be some sort of self-financing. The city should pay for dental services… in order to recover their gold-encrusted teeth,” reports le Dauphiné.
His words provoked an immediate firestorm among the entire political class and were also condemned by the National Front.
A spokesperson for the party told l’Express newspaper that the regional delegate for the party admonished Sisini, the spokesman hinted at possible disciplinary action.
“If it turns out that he has made such remarks, then he will be sanctioned in a disciplinary committee” the spokesman said.
The National Front has a history of hostility towards immigrants. Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean Marie, the founder of the National Front, was recently found guilty of inciting hatred and making racist statements at a press conference in 2013. He was subsequently ordered to pay 5,000 euros ($5,300) for calling members of the Roma community “smelly.”
The exact number of Roma people living in France is unknown, with estimates ranging between 20,000 and 400,000.