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You're Welcome

Views on BG | December 19, 2013, Thursday // 09:44| Views: 2526 | Comments: 6
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Bulgaria: You're Welcome

The Economist open letter to the citizens of Bulgaria and Romania

Britain's newspapers are full of stories about your poverty, criminality and hunger for welfare. Its politicians rail against the European freedom-of-movement rules that will let you in and scramble to make it harder for you to claim benefits. Its population is more hostile than the Germans or the French: almost half of Britons believe their government should ban you from the country even if it is against the law to do so. You might just, as a result, have got the impression that you are not welcome.

But you are. On behalf of The Economist’s home country, we invite you to come and work here. Beginning on January 1st, you can go anywhere in the European Union. We hope lots of you choose Britain. Although our leaders seem to have forgotten, Britain pushed for your country to join the EU, knowing that you would one day turn up on our doorstep.

The going will be rough at first. But the history of many waves of immigration tells us that, before too long, you will be folded comfortably into British society.

More than we bargained for

It is not your fault that most of our countrymen don’t want you. Partly, the problem is the Poles. Ten years ago, when Britain was one of only three countries to open its doors to them, the government assured voters that just a few tens of thousands would come, and probably not for long. Instead more than half a million arrived. And, as well as being workers who cut cabbages and painted walls (displacing some British labourers by the simple expedient of turning up on time), they proved to be human beings who settled down and had children. We weren’t fully prepared for that.

But if our leaders were wrong a decade ago about the number of Poles and other east Europeans who would come to Britain, they are more wrong now about their effect on the country. Politicians claim they are a burden on public services already stretched thin by austerity. Nonsense: being young and able-bodied, they don’t use them much. And because they contribute more to the Treasury in taxes than they take out in benefits and services—about 35% more, according to a plausible estimate—they save our schools and hospitals from deeper cuts. They don’t depress wages much, and mostly among other immigrant workers. They make our economy bigger, lowering our debt-to-GDP ratio. If you are even remotely like them, you will be an economic boon.

Sadly, opinion polls do not lie. Few people want you here. Those of you who end up begging or stealing—and there will inevitably be some—will be featured on the front pages of our newspapers. But in an odd way, this could help you. So loathsome is the idea of Bulgarian and Romanian immigration to Britons that the reality can only seem pleasant by comparison. People will be nicely surprised when the great majority of you come to work rather than scrounge off the state.

Britain’s labour market is Europe’s most flexible. Its economy is at last growing strongly. Its people are not prejudiced in practice: the polls that show huge opposition to your arrival also suggest that most Britons would consider employing you to work on their houses. The country is used to immigrants. Particularly in London, you will discover all kinds of exotic folk, many of whom were similarly despised when they first arrived. If you are really worried about prejudice, just pretend to be Italian. Nobody will know.

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» To the forumComments (6)
vigorniensis - 26 Dec 2013 // 12:08:11

No they haven't! The idiotic nonsense flies in the face of all logic and failed to take into consideration the amount of dole that was ALSO paid to the indigenous people because their jobs were taken by immigrants. It also failed to take into consideration the absurd and appalling crime against the indigenous people by making them pay for immigrant's children that were still living in their home country. It also fails to take into consideration the huge increases in the infrastructure that are required to manage 75 million people as opposed to the 52 million indigenous people. This EU nonsense is A CRIME AGAINST THE ENGLISH AND THESE PEOPLE WILL BE MADE TO PAY. All those in Common Purpose had better sever their links.

vigorniensis - 26 Dec 2013 // 11:58:22

Please be aware that you are most definitely NOT WELCOME. The idiotic Fabian Liberals would destroy the UK. Believe me when I say you will not only be unwelcome but you will face a very hostile reception and be shunned everywhere you go.

Krum the terrible - 25 Dec 2013 // 11:35:12

Bulgarians should go to USA not UK

VillaGuy - 21 Dec 2013 // 06:16:42

Wilfusprite- Since the EU's Eastern states have been working in the UK, they have been a net contributor to the economy, they are paying in more than the costs of the services that they use. How can that be a strain on the services? In Boston, the influx of migrants helped keep the Pilgrim hospitals maternity ward from being closed, this is just one example from an area I know well.

wilfulsprite - 20 Dec 2013 // 23:46:15

The article is mostly British humour.
But yes, the government said people were just coming to work here, were single, paid tax and didn't use services, and many did. Living crammed into ratty houses and even taking a turn to sleep in a bed rather than have a bed to themselves. Some even sleep in the workplace or live rough. Wages are higher here, but so is the cost of living.
That is what the government wants - cheap, disposable labour, where people are more eager to work hard for little money and not worry about rights or fairness. Many stayed and spoiled the plan - we have too few homes and school places and doctors for people who want to stay and use public services.
Europe's 'most flexible labour market' means a zero hour contract - they promise you no work at all, and you jump when they say so. You may get 6 month's work, or 6 weeks, or 6 days, or 6 hours - nothing is guaranteed.
And yes, those are the conditions British workers work under also.
And that's the truth.

Juanito - 19 Dec 2013 // 11:06:34

This is gross. Portrays people from "eastern EU" (like they are all the same and no differences exist in the various countries) like second class citizens and only good to pay taxes and help the UK government make it up for cost cutting in public services.

"Partly, the problem is the Poles...they proved to be human beings who settled down and had children"

Really?!? were you expecting them to just work (for jobs that the spoiled britons don't even want to do), pay taxes and then go hide in a hole. What a surprise, they are human! Really gross. Shame on you for publishing this rubbish.

Bulgaria news (Sofia News Agency - is unique with being a real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Bulgarian news. The editorial staff also publishes a daily online newspaper "Sofia Morning News." (Sofia News Agency - and Sofia Morning News publish the latest economic, political and cultural news that take place in Bulgaria. Foreign media analysis on Bulgaria and World News in Brief are also part of the web site and the online newspaper. News Bulgaria