The Elephant in the Room: Migration from Romania and Bulgaria
By Rob Burberry
Whether they like it or not, throughout 2013, Britain's politicians have an elephant in the room. It's an elephant no politician wants to sensibly talk about.
Just like Eric Pickles, the Communities Minister who got in his own pickle this week on the Daily Politics show. It all surrounds the relaxation of 'transitional arrangements' applied when Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007. In short, whilst the two countries may have joined the European Union, some countries including the UK put in a restriction effectively blocking the migration of Romanians and Bulgarians.
Cast your mind back to the expansion of the EU in 2004. Government officials estimated only 'tens of thousands' would migrate to the UK. In fact, hundreds of thousands did. the The graph towards the bottom of this BBC article on the 2011 Census demonstrates this fact perfectly using Polish nationals as an example.
So when Eric Pickles refuses to discuss the figures he has been shown, is it because he thinks the estimates are too low? Too high? About right?! He wouldn't say yesterday and no Conservative politician will say anything concrete on this all year. They don't want to talk about it.
The fact is, to the regular guy down the pub, the looming migration boom from Romania and Bulgaria is of grave concern. By failing to talk about it, Conservative politicians yet again hand the trump card to UKIP. Just ask the Conservatives own Lord Ashcroft, who last month said: "For those drawn to it, UKIP's primary attraction is that it will say things that need to be said but others are scared to say." Eric Pickles is certainly too scared, but he's not the only one – Theresa May is at it too, although perhaps she's a little more honest than Pickles.
Only in November, the Home Secretary admitted to the Daily Telegraph she was powerless, impotent to stop thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians flocking to the UK. There it is, cold as today's snow that Britain is not in full control of it's destiny having handed it over to the Eurocrats.
Are we right to be concerned about the migration, or will just a few hundred pass through Britain's borders from 1st January 2014? For the answers, we need to look at the data, the reasons why Romanians and Bulgarians will indeed flock to the UK. This unofficial piece provides interesting financial data.
So for now, David Cameron will make false and empty promises on an EU referendum, Theresa May will tell us she's powerless and Eric Pickles will refuse to discuss figures.
The Year of the Snake may begin next month, but for the Conservatives it's going to be the Year of the Elephant in the room.
- » FT: Bulgaria Strives to Become Tech Capital of Balkans
- » WSJ: Bulgaria and Smugglers Escalate Their Migrant-Trafficking Battle
- » Seattle Times: Bulgaria Is 'Underappreciated and Ripe for a Visit'
- » Die Welt: Bulgarians Rescuing Schengen Area
- » Balkan Insight: Bulgaria's Impossible Balancing Act
- » DW Reveals How Migrants Are Smuggled out of Bulgaria
Hi, Lots of inaccurate statements here. Dont you know that governments everywhere are all talk. Unfortunately I am English, living in Bulgaria but working in London. All Polish, Bulgarian, Romainians, Latvians, etc that I worked with all work extremely well and fit into society very well. maybe a very small minority claim benefits in the uk or have earned the right to bring up families here. We are in Europe and all free to work as we wish. Although I have noticed a massive influx of Spanish and Greeks looking for work in London. Believe me working in the UK isnt the answer people think it is, need to earn a lot to live and work here. very few dont take enough money. England is a small island and is now busting at the seems! yes unfortunately Romania and Bulgaria seem to get the rap when the s h 1 t hits the fan.. tough everywhere for everybody at the minute
I agree with you 100%, stop the blood sucking trash that come into the UK to sit on there arse and get money for it, however with weak government that we have had for over 60 years this will not change also it would be against EU law, that is why the UK is going down hill fast.
To be fair its not only Bulgarians that are mentioned in the UK press, was a bit about a Latvian woman today and the Islamic lot get a lot of press. The UK fears more an invasion of Roma, than a Bulgarian who comes to the UK for work, however the press will not say that as it will be classed as racist and would be taken to court.
Hi again ste125,
Based on my life experience:
DO NOT BLAME ANYONE BEFORE YOU LOOK FOR THE PROBLEMS "INSIDE"
Why so many refugees from Asia and Africa are still coming to the UK? They do not like to go to other EU countries, because here in the UK they get 10 times more, even UK government paying them market rate accommodation in London (let's say £2000 or £3000 per month). This does not work in Bulgaria, where they live in former army buildings, etc. Both countries are trying to comply with all EU and Human rights conventions.
I simply do not like to see UK spending millions of pounds every year to provide 1st Class life to people from Somalia (example) and UK media attacking Bulgarians and Romanians every day. I think, my taxes in the UK equal to the taxes of 10 or 20 refugees, but I get "ZERO" financial support from the UK government. I do not even ask.
Problem 2: The Gypsies - Yes they are to many. I was in Sofia last week, it was 3 years after my last visit. My impression is they are about 20% of the population in Sofia (?)
I think, I know the Gypsies well, and can separate them quite accurately by the country they are coming from (including UK ones).
However, I think they receive much more from any EU government compare to their benefits to the society.
I recommend to the UK government not allowing ANYONE receiving MONEY CASH from the state, before paying at least one year all related UK taxes. I think this is they way to stop Gypsies from Bulgaria and Romania (plus many other abusers)
wasting the money of the English people.
(Quote)The problem isn't Romanians nor Bulgarians, the problems is gypsies. They will flood the UK, not to work but to mooch off the UK taxpayer and bring lots of criminality.
Yes I agree
(Quote)Problem is also English general fear of Eastern Europeans, before this latest fear of Bulgaria & Romania, they were moaning n whining about Polaks were coming to take over the UK by the gazillions.
I do not see a fear of Eastern Europeans, however at this moment over 1m poles live in the UK I do not think that is a small number. Go to Luton (stan) airport you will find all the adverts outside in Polish, go to Burger King inside and try to find staff who can speak good English.
. at the same time they open the floodgates to Arabs n Pakis, go figure.
Yes you have hit the nail on the head, the UK government has let the people of the UK down in letting this large influx of asylum seekers into the UK, however under International law the UK has to investigate the claims and while this goes on give them accommodation, feed them and give them access to legal help, all at the tax payers expense, this can take years. After this we then get EU human rights to get past, stopping a lot of people get deported.
The UK at the moment is near bursting point with hospitals and schools and accommodation. If I was in charge anyone who had no right to be in the UK would be gone.
I work around Europe and in no country have I asked for anything off the people of any country, that is the way it should be, the UK is a soft touch for any low life from around the World who wants a work free life, including some work shy English people.
A big problem I see in the UK is the Muslims as they are getting stronger, starting to take over towns and will take over the country in years to come.
The reason I came to Bulgaria is I feel a stranger in my own country, I am made to feel ashamed to be English by immigrants from around the World. My view to any immigrant is if you dont like our culture, our way of life or our flag leave. I do not make the statement against any European East or West. The UK is on its way to civil unrest and I am glad to have my home in a proud country that I can relate to, I cannot see the Bulgarians allowing to see the country going the way of the UK
Well done Boris 2009, you are the type of person the UK needs, I hope your firm does very well and you prosper. The media is only bringing up Bulgarians because they are part of the next block to be allowed free entry into the UK, I cannot see lots of Bulgarians heading for the UK, due to the ageing population except I do expect a lot of Gypsies, which I believe is the main fear of the UK.
I do not think I am treated the same as a Bulgarian, when I bought my house I had to open a Bulgarian company and the moment I start talking the price goes up for services.
The problem isn't Romanians nor Bulgarians, the problems is gypsies. They will flood the UK, not to work but to mooch off the UK taxpayer and bring lots of criminality.
Problem is also English general fear of Eastern Europeans, before this latest fear of Bulgaria & Romania, they were moaning n whining about Polaks were coming to take over the UK by the gazillions.. at the same time they open the floodgates to Arabs n Pakis, go figure.
I live in the UK since 2006 (family reasons), I am a Bulgarian and run 2 small own businesses. However, I feel discriminated by the British media, especially last 2-3 years, only because I am a Bulgarian. I live in England and my question is for all English people and politicians:
- Why you separate Europeans? Why you do not like Bulgarians?
I do not think we do like that in Sofia. For me (when I am in Bulgaria) there is no difference between English, French and Polish man, for example.
I know you have immigration problems, but immigrants from outside EU are much, much more than Europeans in the UK?
If you want to be open and modern country, please apply equal rules to everyone. UK brings immigrants from outside Europe equal by numbers to 10 other EU countries and at the same time blame (?) now Bulgarians and Romanians.
No Euro boy, things are not equal, however the problem with the UK at the moment is total immigration. London has a population which is 50% British, and you can be hard pressed at times to find a person who can speak English. Imagine that in Sofia!
In the UK we have a lot of financial tourists, including Taliban and even a Bulgarian claiming political asylum who has been given a nice house and money every week for his wife and 9 kids all paid for by the UK tax payer. So if everything is equal can you tell me why the Bulgarians have not given me a house and money each week to live?
Everything I have in Bulgaria is what I have paid for, not the Bulgarian tax payer, and if a Bulgarian goes to the UK they do not have to provide bank statements to show they can support themselves, unlike here. So as you say things should be equal, please let me know where I can claim some money?
UK must realise that everyone who wanted to be in the UK, is already in the UK. Double standards are not acceptable and cannot be applied for too long, as Europeans we have equal rights, you can accept it or not!
EU must apply sanctions procedures to member states who discriminate and restrict the rights of Europeans.
It is about time that the conservative government of the Uk and also the party start to Govern and not just enjoy being in charge. We have had a load of good talk from Cameron & Co but very little hard action. This is true of this issue, Europe in general and the economy in the UK. Let' see some real leadership and government rather than good words that grab headlines. Whatever way they choose on a number of issues let's have a goal with milestones along the way to judge progress, if it doesn't work let them be realistic and change tactics to another route with the same goal. Mountains normally have several routes to the summit, if you fail on one route you try another, simple.