Prime Minister Petr Nečas distanced himself on Sunday from reported comments of Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg about the French expulsions of Roma or gypsies originally from Romania. Mr. Schwarzenberg was reported by the Lidove noviny newspaper on Saturday to have said it was impossible not to suspect that a racist perspective played a role in the ongoing expulsions. He also said the move was against the spirit and position of the European Union.
The Czech Foreign Minister later told Czech Television that he said the actions gave an outward impression of racism but that he had not described them as racist.
Mr. Nečas said the comments were rash and that he saw no racist subtext in the expulsions which have been championed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
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