The status of “Travellers” was created in 1970 and involved nearly 400,000 people, with the exception of Roma. Explanations.

• Who are the Travellers? In France, we use indifferently the terms “-Gypsy,” “Roma” or “Gypsy” but yet they cover different things.

The status of “Travellers” was created by the administration in 1969. He describes the people who usually reside in mobile homes land (caravan, mobile home). They have French nationality and are in possession of evidence of movement. The Roma do not fit into this administrative category. For the National Advisory Committee on Travellers chaired by Senator Pierre Herisson, the “Roma” are “foreign nationals of the European Union, who come mainly from Romania and Bulgaria.

The term “Travellers”, which avoids the “racialization” is used in France and Belgium. Other EU states and European institutions employ the word “Roma” to refer to all of their Gypsy populations. This name, meaning “man” in the Romany language, has become widespread in the 70s, to the point of supplanting the other terms.

The communities are very diverse. In Andalusia and in the Camargue, one speaks of “gypsies”, a deformation of “Egyptians” because the first arrived in western Europe said they were from “Little Egypt” (Byzantine Greek). Those who have lived in speaking countries are called “gypsies” – they are present in France since the fifteenth century – but it also speaks of “gypsies” and “Sinti”, or “Gypsy” (Greek athyinganis ” those who do not touch “because they hailed originally holding hands together).

• How are they? According to the census, the community of Travellers and Roma is estimated between 300,000 to 400,000 people. The director of the national federation of associations of solidarity action with the Gypsy and Traveller Stéphane Lévêque advance him the figure of 400,000 to 500,000 travelers and 15,000 to 20,000 Roma.

Approximately one third of travelers remained homeless, one third are semi-sedentary and third are sedentary but travel during the summer. “All travelers have a territorial base said accompanied periods of roaming, especially in the summer, when the tourist season in full swing, observes Stephane Leveque. Travellers are often street vendors, artisans or seasonal.

• What obligations should they meet? At age 16, a member of the Traveller community should be attached administratively to a municipality and hold a title of movement. To be, he must make a reasoned request (for family or professional). If the mayor and the prefect accept, the connection is delivered for a minimum of two years.

To access the vote, an individual must assert a connection of three continuous years. Stricter requirements than those requested for the homeless who are required within six months of attachment.

Many travel passes more or less restrictive exist: the “special booklet” for those who have jobs and families traveling, “the booklet” for pensioners, and unemployed workers and “outstanding book” for those which did have no regular income.

The “special booklet” not accompanied by any visa while the “book” must be mentioned once a year by the police or gendarmerie.

The “book” imposes the most stringent requirements. It must be stamped every three months by the police or gendarmerie. In case of non compliance, the offender faces three months to one year in prison.

• direct debit. Travellers are classified as “no fixed abode”, the caravan is not considered a dwelling. Since 2000, legislation requires municipalities with more than 5,000 people to make reception areas. For a site that can be stored for three to nine months, he must apply at the town hall. However places are rare – only 42% of areas had been put in place in late 2008 – and are less than the numbers of applications. Which, in case of refusal, forcing applicants to illegal parking spontaneous laments Stephane Leveque, who said “we do wear Travellers deficiencies of the state.

The land for private use is also highly regulated. A holder of a “family plot” must obtain a permit when parking is an annual duration exceeds three months. The permit is valid for three years and is renewable.
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