Continued from page 1

She was speaking about France’s immigration minister, Eric Besson, and its European affairs minister, Pierre Lellouche. Mr. Besson on Monday denied any knowledge of the reported Interior Ministry letter and did not speak to reporters Tuesday at a Brussels meeting on asylum issues.

Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux issued a new letter late Monday about dismantling illegal camps that had no reference to Roma, the ministry said, but it would not provide a copy of the new letter to the Associated Press.

Some critics said the apparent flip-flop was part of a bald effort to erase any suggestion that Roma were being targeted by ethnicity.

Stephane Maugendre, the head of an immigrant support group in France, said the move “will not take anything away from the discriminatory character of the practices of regional governments and police regarding the Roma.”

Ms. Reding said she was “looking into the legal implications” of the new wording.

“it is important that not only the words change, but also the behavior of the French authorities,” Ms. Reding said, adding she was asking French authorities for swift explanation of the matter.

Associated Press writer Jamey Keaten in Paris contributed to this report.