The leader of British anti-EU party UKIP (UK Independence Party) Nigel Farage (in picture) has described the opening of the UK’s borders to Romanians and Bulgarians next year as “irresponsible and wrong.”
Nigel Farage said that he and his party would campaign throughout 2013 against the opening of UK borders to Romanians and Bulgarians next year. Transitional controls on Romania and Bulgaria expire after a maximum of seven years, which means that EU member states will be duty bound to extend full membership rights to Romania and its people from the beginning of 2014.
Liberal Democrat politician Sir Menzies Campbell countered Mr Farage’s argument in the discussion, saying that Eastern European workers made a vital contribution to the UK’s hospitality and food processing industries. He added that Romania and the rest of the Eastern European countries were providing opportunities for UK businesses. “They open their borders to the many people in Britain who want to start businesses in these countries,” said Sir Menzies Campbell, to which Nigel Farage smirked with incredulity.
Nigel Farage also claimed that Eastern Europeans were moving to the UK and claiming unemployment benefits “from day one.” The other politicians in the discussion contested whether moving to the UK and claiming benefits straight away was possible, and the government websites also suggest Nigel Farage was wrong. Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan and Liberal Democrat Sir Menzies Campbell from the UK’s governing coalition, as well as Tessa Jowell from the opposition Labour Party took part in the debate.
UKIP’s popularity has been growing in the UK, with recent opinion polls suggesting 16 percent support among the electorate. UKIP is to some extent a one issue party – campaigning for the UK to leave the EU – but policy has started to widen, while still keeping the get Britain out the EU campaign as a central argument.
Liam Lever, email@example.com
photo source: Nigel Farage on Facebook