As another ex-pat
I should point out that the rule you refer to is an EU directive. Might be worth considering that the next time the UK government blames the EU for all the immigrants - because it is basically "get your act together in three months, or sod off". Perhaps the sticking point in the Roma case is that the same piece of legislation mandates that after five years an immigrant must be afforded the same rights and provisions as a native. This is useful to me, I work here. I'm in the wonderful wonderful mass of paperwork that passes for French beaurocracy. :-)
That said, around here, they are clever. How do you prove you've been in the country five years? Easy - show us five years worth of tax declarations. You'd be surprised how many Brits this catches out too ("oh, we pay tax in the UK"... and? File a non-return, it isn't hard, it's the pink one.)
As for the Roma, we don't have many of that sort around here (it's a farming community with ZERO tourist attractions), but there are certain small houses (and I mean like the size of a posh garden shed) which are SURROUNDED by an army of white vans, several of them parked on the roads, sometimes even IN the roads. Manky clothing strewn up all over the place. I've even seen tall ladders used so baby clothes could be pegged to phone lines. WTF? And why are these people incapable of putting their rubbish into a wheelie bin instread of tossing it, well, everywhere. God-damned place looks like a half-hearted attempt at recreating a municipal dump. Hell, a fair bit of the stuff they nick from local schools and the salle polyvalente which they decide is no longer useful gets thrown in the ditch by their property, it's like they're daring anybody to say anything. Neither the Mayor nor the Gendarmes can do anything. Both get threatened, sometimes overtly (it even makes it to the local papers) but there isn't the support network to back them up. Nobody around here wants to start a war. Maybe, however, Sarko's actions will start to tackle these sorts of problems.
I'm sure this will stir up a lot of troubled debate in the realms of the EU, but it is one thing to make useful directives for law abiding people. It is something else to try to apply these directives to people that seem pathologically unable to obey the laws of the host country, or get jobs, or pay tax...