Ex-Bulgarian FM Urges UK PM to Drop Nationalist Policies
Ivaylo Kalfin is a former Bulgarian Foreign Minister (2005-2009) and current Socialist Member of European Parliament.
Kalfin sent an official letter to UK Prime Minister David Cameron in connection with Britain's plans to curb EU immigration by proposing measures against social benefits.
You can read the full text of the letter below.
Your position on restricting migration makes sense. It makes sense to all those that want to see an Europe back into the national trenches. All those that deny the benefits and the prosperity that Europe brought to her citizens over the last more than fifty years. All those that adopt the language of the national greatness and suspicion towards the European neighbours that prevailed at the beginning of the last century.
I believe that today, in the 21st century, when the world goes global and the competitiveness and welfare are much more important to the European citizens, they understand that building walls around the national borders in Europe and marginalising the nation states is detrimental. They certainly do not want to repeat the European mistakes of the last century but rather to step and build on the basis of the lessons learned.
Speaking about the one million citizens from Central and Eastern Europe living in the UK, you should also remember about the nearly two millions of British citizens that live elsewhere in Europe. Worrying about the "threat" to the national labour market, you should probably consult the British industries and entrepreneurs asking them for the value these workers are creating for the UK economy. The fact is that the UK largely benefits and has always benefited from immigrant workers.
Amplifying the speculations of the nationalists that the British labour market is going to be under threat after restrictions for the Bulgarian citizens fall is building on a nonsense. Today all EU citizens can travel and enter the UK territory. Lifting the labour market restrictions is addressed to those that are willing to come and work legally in the UK. What exactly is the threat?
Please, Prime Minister, look at the facts. Use all the reports and analyses made by British or European institutions. Look at the numbers of, for instance Bulgarians that are working, contributing to the economy and paying their taxes in your country or those that are paying for their education there. Then you will probably realise that the percentage of Bulgarian citizens that are benefiting from the UK social systems without contributing to them is negligible. I am sure that you can base your conclusions on the facts. I also expect that you make these facts public.
As a Chevening scholar and as a Master and Honorary Doctor of Loughborough University, I had the privilege to know and to benefit from the UK excellence in education, and with all my respect to your great country, I would like to ask you not to follow the nationalists but to demonstrate the leadership that the UK and Europe deserve. I am absolutely convinced that when taking your decisions for the United Kingdom, you will demonstrate the vision and the political strength that the citizens expect from you.
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If you were on long term incap in the UK you need to get permission before coming here. It is payable here in Bulgaria and I know several who have it. You must not take it laying down and phone the overseas office and insist on your benefit my friend
CountryHick & Len, agree 100%. You reminded me as well, long term residence is not carte blanche to remain here. I do feel as if we took a big chance coming here but after years in Zimbabwe I thought at least no one will be anti-white.
Re bribes, I was asked for a bottle of whisky to pass my car thro' the MOT!
Also when you are about to pay money the shop assistant speaks English if you need to complain they do not!
And what gets me every time is no manners, locals say why? WE do not get taught in school, from ackowledging crossing the road to thanking someone for good service, it costs nothing. And, and, and the lack of smiles. The girls are so pretty yet they often look like a slapped arse.
I agree in part with the former FM, however seeing things from either side of the great divide but only in the context of BG & GB, I must comment.
It is far more difficult for a UK national moving to BG than vica versa. The language is only one problem. I love living in BG, my wife does not, she stays because I want to live here.
Many BG's are happy to rip folk off, I have only experienced it once badly, because I tried not to ask my BG friends to help. Amazing how prices can change if an English person asks and then a BG citizen asks.
Then a big one for me is medical. I pay full price for my many drugs. Anyone in the UK pays a set price for a prescription. I have been on incapacity benefit many years as unable to work, when I checked, before coming here, I was advised it would continue. It stopped. Now I really struggle financially. Incap would have covered my drugs. It is not the same I know but I think I am correct in stating that people working in the UK can claim benefit for their children in their home country. Is that fair when a citizen from birth cannot get a long term benefit anymore?
Indeed.Even those Brits with long term residence status (not permanent) can’t claim Bulgarian social security. Even those who have working companies and pay tax to the Bulgarian state have no right to help if things go wrong. They are forced by the police to sign a declaration stating they will not claim social benefit in order to get a residence card.
My wife and I have permanent residence (God what a legal fight to get that). It took another legal battle to get Bulgarian medical insurance even though we were clearly entitled to it. We now have everything including the plastic health card. Nobody here seems to know anything about E.U law and we have to fight for everything. However the second it looks like they will get similar treatment in the UK they are up in arms
I’m accused on this forum of being anti Bulgarian .I’m NOT.. I’m anti the fact that Bulgarian civil servants are arrogant jumped up fools that have had years to learn E.U law but are so full of their own importance they can’t be bothered. Bulgarian politicians act like children and are the laughing stock of the E.U.
I have a friend in Sofia that has been demonstrating for change for months and I greatly admire her commitment to making Bulgaria a modern country fit for all it’s people. It’s not up to the E.U to sort your country out, it’s up to every Bulgarian to stand up and say no to corruption (for every 4 Euro given by the E.U you steal 1 Euro) No to police corruption (we have been asked to pay a bribe.)
Stop holding your hand out crying we have no money. We English working class people had no money in my fathers and grandfathers day. They did not hold out their hand for money like you do..We are sick of the “you have money and we don’t attitude here”
Try waving a thank you when someone stops their car to let you cross the road. Try smiling at your fellow man! Be nice to people you serve in shops .You will soon see the difference ?
Sorry to rant but I just needed to get some stuff off my chest. We should all work together to make Bulgaria the best place to live
you have to be self employed or operate a company but only employ Bulgarians unless it is a job that Bulgarians are not capable of doing also unless you have long term residency (visa) you can only stay 90 days at a time most Brits came here with no intention of claiming any sort of benefits or handouts no child support ect. The 1 million British that are in the rest of Europe have invested in the country they are in, not only in property but in purchasing power which all means employment for the working population if we fall ill we must pay for it only help comes when it is an accident and that is from our own health system via the health card.