Foreign affairs minister: 10,000 Romanians working in UK healthcare sector
Romania received assurances from former foreign secretary Boris Johnson that the legal status of Romanians working in the UK healthcare sector will not change after Brexit, Teodor Meleşcanu, the country’s foreign affairs minister, said in an interview with BBC. The UK healthcare system will collapse if they were to be expelled, he explained.
There are over 10,000 Romanians working in the UK’s healthcare system and 400,000 Romanians living and working there, Meleşcanu said.
“If there is a hard Brexit, of course, we will have to discuss about it. From our point of view, it’s obvious that Romanians living in the UK - more than 400,000 - are not tourists only. They are practically contributing, in a very direct manner, to the well-being and to the economic and social development of the United Kingdom. I always refer to the fact that we have more than 10,000 persons who are in the healthcare system of the United Kingdom: doctors, nurses and others. They are very well integrated in the British society,” Meleşcanu told BBC.
Meleşcanu said he talked with former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson in Bucharest and Johnson gave assurances that nothing will change in the legal status of the Romanians working in the UK.
“He said ‘I assure you, nothing will be changed. They will remain as such, they will continue to have the same legal status’ and so on and so forth. And I asked ‘Thank you very much, but how can you guarantee that this will happen in reality?’ And he said ‘It’s very simple. If 10,000 doctors and nurses will be kicked out of the United Kingdom, the whole healthcare system will collapse’,” Meleşcanu explained.
Meleşcanu said that Romanians and other European citizens, like the Poles or the Bulgarians, “are doing the jobs which the British citizens do not want to do. I think it is a solid contribution to the development of the United Kingdom.” He was referring to one of the reasons UK citizens voted for Brexit, namely that other Europeans are coming and taking jobs away.
The minister also said that the country is interested in keeping a very close relationship with the UK, which offered strong support for Romania’s EU accession.
“The strong support of the United Kingdom for Romania to join the European Union is never forgotten in Romania. We are interested in keeping UK as closely as possible to the European Union, irrespective of the different variations of solutions,” the minister said.
The BBC interview is available here, beginning min. 30.
Meanwhile, at a meeting with Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Meleşcanu said Romania will support EU’s expansion policy during the time it holds the EU Council Presidency, Agerpres reported quoting news agency Tanjug.
(Photo: Ministerul Afacerilor Externe Facebook Page)