The UK cannot take a unilateral decision to stop Romanians and Bulgarians going to the country to work after 2014, according to the office of the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor.
“No EU member state can unilaterally break its commitments under EU law,” spokesperson Jonathan Todd told Bulgarian news service Novinite.com. The comments come amid a growing European response to recent suggestions in the UK media and from some politicians that the country should in some way restrict the rights of free movement of Romanians and Bulgarians after the the transitional controls on the two countries expire at the beginning of 2014.
After weeks of discussion in the UK, which at times has had a decidedly hysterical tone, there have been some official developments in recent days. Romania’s Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean told British newspaper The Observer that the debate in the UK was raising “serious concerns” in Romania. The UK ambassador to Romania Martin Harris also met the minister for Romanians abroad Cristian David ( both in picture, left to right). They talked about the need to discuss immigration in a “balanced and rational way,” according to The Guardian.
On February 1, a group of Romanian and Bulgarian MEPs sent a letter to the European Commission (EC) President José Manuel Barroso asking for the rights of citizens from the two countries to be upheld. As yet, the EC President has not given a public response.
It’s perhaps easy to believe that the UK is fervently against granting Romanians and Bulgarians their basic rights as EU citizens, but there other views on the issue. An opinion piece published today, also in The Guardian, expresses a different position. In her article, Michele Hanson says the UK’s approach to Romanian and Bulgarian immigration makes her sick with shame.
Liam Lever, email@example.com
(photo source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)