London-based entrepreneur aims to become the Diaspora’s voice in Romanian Parliament
Stefan Voloseniuc, a London-based Romanian entrepreneur, has announced he is standing for the forthcoming elections to the Romanian Senate on December 6. He says he is the only independent candidate running against eight established political parties for one of the two senator seats representing the Romanian Diaspora, out of a total of 136 seats in the Senate.
“As an independent candidate for the Senate, my focus is on representing the Romanian people who are now living around the world to help and assist them with better representation, support, education, pensions and job opportunities and especially to encourage and help them to return home to Romania and be able to re-integrate and take their newly acquired skills, languages and wealth to help build a better long-term and stable future for the country,” says Stefan Voloseniuc.
Born in a very small and remote village in Romania’s Bukovina region, in 1983, Stefan Voloseniuc left home at the age of 18 with just EUR 300 borrowed from his grandmother. He lived and worked in Portugal and France before moving to the UK in January 2007, just after Romania joined the EU. In London, he first worked as a road digger and, despite speaking no English, he was determined to develop his own business so he could support his family back home.
He developed a civil engineering company from scratch - SF Stefan - which currently has a turnover of close to GBP 30 million a year and employs 150 staff, including many Romanians and an increasing number of British workers.
After having lived with his family in Wembley, North London, for the past decade, Stefan Voloseniuc wants to give a voice to the hundreds of thousands of Romanians who now live in London and to help to improve their situation, lives and opportunities. He is also very aware that the image of Romanians in the UK is often negative and is determined to change that view.
“It is a massive challenge and something that is very different to my usual business world, but I discovered that the UK is an amazing country of opportunity for those who work hard and want to build a better life and now I feel very strongly that I should help others who are here to achieve their goals as well.”
Through his company SF Stefan, he has already started investing in the local community with a GBP 750,000 sponsorship for FC Romania - a football team made mainly of Romanian immigrants playing in the lower leagues. He is currently setting up a new charity and sports academy to assist disadvantaged Romanians and others from all backgrounds within his local North London community.
Over 600,000 Romanians living in the UK have applied for the EU Settlement Scheme, which allows them to stay in the country after Brexit and later apply for residence. Meanwhile, the total number of Romanians living abroad is somewhere between 4 and 6 million, according to various sources, compared to a resident population of just over 19 million in Romania.
However, the Diaspora will be represented by only 6 MPs in the future Parliament – two senators and four deputies – the same number as the smallest counties in Romania such as Tulcea, Giurgiu, or Mehedinti.
(Photo source: Stefan Voloseniuc)