German Cities Association Alarmed by Bulgarian, Romanian Migrants

February 6, 2013, Wednesday // 01:08
Bulgaria: German Cities Association Alarmed by Bulgarian, Romanian Migrants
German cities are worried by the influx of many Bulgarian and Romanian migrants, many of them Roma. Photo by EPA/BGNES

German cities have warned that an influx of Romanian and Bulgarian economic migrants will cost them dear and put the "social peace" at risk.

A report by the German Association of Cities, cited by the Daily Telegraph, recounts problems of illegal working, schoolchildren being unable to speak German and a rise in organized crime since the migrants arrived.

Berlin, Hamburg, Dortmund and Hanover have seen a six-fold increase in economic migration from the two countries since 2006, which they say has left them struggling to cope.

The report says cities are facing "significant costs as a result of this poverty migration".

It calls on Chancellor Angela Merkel to provide financial assistance to help them deal with the strain under which the migration is putting them.

"The social balance and social peace is extremely endangered," the report says, as cited by The Daily Telegraph and The Daily Mail.

The warning comes amid fears in Britain that tens of thousands more Romanians and Bulgarians will come here each year after formal restrictions on the numbers of low-skilled workers from the two countries end next year.

A report by the campaign group Migration Watch UK warned last month that up to 70,000 migrants could arrive annually from then.

But Romania's ambassador, Dr Ion Jinga, has argued that Romanians are more likely to migrate to countries such as Spain, Italy and France because of linguistic similarities.

An annual quota was imposed when Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007, with the aim of limiting numbers to 25,000 a year in the UK.

But under EU rules on free movement, a country cannot impose restrictions on the self-employed.

There are already more than 90,000 Bulgarians and 159,000 Romanians in Germany but, as in Britain, they are not allowed to work legally until January 1, unless they declare themselves self-employed.

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