After heated exchanges of statements in the media and an increasing wave of comments on Romanian immigration to the UK, a British official arriving in Bucharest has made some remarks which may help put out the fire.
The British Minister for Europe David Lidington (in picture, right, together with British Ambassador to Romania Martin Harris and PM Ponta to the left), who arrived in Bucharest yesterday (March 12 ) for a series of meeting and talks including among others the Romanian migration issue, said the Romania – UK relationship is too valuable to allow the immigration topic to become problematic. “I want to be clear. UK will open its labor market for Romanians and Bulgarians in 2014. It is our obligation according to the Treaty and we have no intention of doing otherwise. We recognize the positive impact of European citizens using their fundamental rights. Over 1.5 million British citizens living and working in other EU countries benefit from these rights,” said Lidington during his visit to Bucharest.
He went on to say the British Government recognizes the value brought by the tens of thousands of Romanian workers in the UK, who work in construction, health and agriculture, among other sectors.
Lidington assured the measures prepared by the British Government to restrict migrants’ access to the social benefits system will not discriminate against any type of immigrants. “In the UK we’re building an immigration system which should work in our national interest, supporting our economy by bringing talents from all around the world, including Romania and Bulgaria, but at the same time protecting our public services and our social insurance systems, trying to end illegal migration and abuse in the system,” said the British official. The changes will be made in tandem with reforms that will apply to British people as well, trying to convince more people that working is far better than relying on social benefits.
In his speech, the British minister underlined the efforts to ensure Romanians and Bulgarians will not be exploited by criminal networks or by ruthless employees, which is what happened for other European citizens when uncontrolled access to the labor market was allowed. Romania is the fourth largest source of human trafficking victims in UK.
During his official visit, Lidington met Prime Minister Victor Ponta (in picture, left), as well as other ministers in the Government, had dinner with members of the Parliament, and breakfast with representatives of the over 4,000 British investors in Romania.
(photo source: gov.ro)