France continued with its controversial deportation of Roma migrants on Friday afternoon, when 130 passengers boarded a charter plane, bound for Romania.

A day earlier French authorities deported 86 Roma from illegal squatting camps to Romania in the largest expulsion seen in France since President Nicolas Sarkozy called for tougher action against Roma living in the country illegally.

A total of 850 Roma persons will have to leave France by the end of August.

The next deportation is expected for next Thursday, when 160 persons will be deported.

Meanwhile, the French government made it clear it is reluctant to style its actions as "deportation", saying that Roma people are leaving the country by mutual agreement and for a compensation (EUR 300 per adult, EUR 100 per child), and also retain the right to return whenever they might wish.

Roma from Romania and Bulgaria are allowed free passage into France if they are European Union citizens. After that, however, they must find work, start studies, or find some other way of becoming established in France or risk deportation.

The French government said those Roma being deported this week have overstayed the three-month limit.