Bulgarian Workers Likely to Snub Britain, FM Says
Bulgarians would rather settle in Germany, Spain or Italy than Britain when labor restrictions are lifted at the beginning of 2014, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Madenov has argued.
Mladenov said Britain was exaggerating the risk of a wave of immigration from Bulgaria from next year with "fearful debates".
Speaking to Sky News, Mladenov also suggested the UK's efforts to discourage Bulgarian immigrants could "dampen" relations between the two countries.
"The UK would not be the primary country of choice for many people to go and work," Mladenov said, as cited by The Telegraph. "Our economy is mostly connected to the German economy.
"We have a large number of companies working in places like Spain and Italy, where we have long-standing traditions and where the labour market had opened to Bulgarians quite some time ago."
The Bulgarian Foreign Minister reminded that, since the country's accession to the European Union in 2007, no mass waves of Bulgarians have moved across Europe seeking illegal rights or illegal immigration to other countries.
He also said Britain should be grateful to immigrants for being "beneficial to your economy".
Mladenov's statements follow controversial claims recently made by British media and politicians that hundreds of thousands of Bulgarian and Romanian workers will "flood" the UK after the end of 2013.
Romania and Bulgaria's citizens can move to Britain for work when temporary limits expire on December 31 2013.
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