France has begun expelling approximately 700 Roma to Romania and Bulgaria on Thursday, AFP reported.

The first 79 Roma to participate in what has been termed a "voluntary return procedure" agreed to leave France on a flight headed for Bucharest later in the day. Another 132 Roma are expected to leave France for Romania this Friday.

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Each adult to participate in the repatriation program is to receive 300 euros from the French government, and 100 euros for every minor that leaves the country.

Approximately 15,000 Roma of Eastern European origin currently reside in France, AFP estimated.