More than 21,000 people have signed our petition asking the Government to maintain strict controls on EU migrants due to lapse on December 31.
Tory MP Peter Bone, whose Private Member’s Bill is calling for restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian immigration to remain in force, has lauded the Crusade as one “speaking for the British people”.
But Romanian politician Catalin Ivan, whose countrymen are preparing to flood the UK in search of wages and benefits far in excess of those available in their homeland, has expressed “outrage” at the campaign.
The social democrat to the European Parliament said in a letter to Daily Express “there can be no restrictions on the labour market”, adding: “I thus ask you to stop this endeavour”.
Campaigners suggest that 50,000 to 70,000 Romanians and Bulgarians could arrive over a five-year period after the immigration curbs are lifted on January 1, next year.
In an indication of public opposition to lifting the restrictions, 98 per cent of readers taking part in a Daily Express snap phone poll agreed that Britain should “close its borders to all new ALL new migrants”.
But Mr Ivan says any move by Britain to resist removal of the immigration bars simply cannot happen, telling the newspaper “your publication asks for the violation of European Law”.
“I also wish to express my outrage regarding the negative and unacceptable fear of immigrants your publication’s campaign assigns to Roman citizens,” he added.
But Mr Bone, MP for Wellingborough, today hailed the Crusade a success and branded Mr Ivan’s comments “nonsense”.
He said: “I think we should stop Bulgarians and Romanians coming in. If the EU rules against it are broken, so be it – we can just ignore the rules.
“We need to put national interests before European Union interests and it’s certainly in the national interest that we control the number of Bulgarians and Romanians coming into the country.”
Mr Bone said recruitment agencies were being “inundated” with requests by migrants from the two poverty-stricken countries and that “all the indications” were that thousands would pour into the UK after the floodgates open in the New Year.
He said Mr Ivan’s comments “just hardened the case for Britain leaving the EU”, adding: “This country has a long-founded record on immigrant rights and admitting refugees and I’m certainly not going to take lectures from Romania about immigration. It’s about controlling our borders.
“This is not about saying nobody from Romania and Bulgaria should be allowed into the country, but it should be up to us to decide which ones are allowed in.”
Fellow Tory Douglas Carswell, MP for Clacton, said Britain is the “best country on Earth to live in”, able to attract the world’s most talented workers, and did not need the kind of “low-skilled” labour and benefit claimants likely to come from Romania and Bulgaria in January.
The current restrictions were imposed in 2007 when Romania and Bulgaria – two of Europe’s poorest countries – joined the EU, limiting their citizens’ rights to work here.
David Cameron insists Britain is obliged, like other EU member states, to lift them by midnight on December 31. Immigrants coming into Britain from the start of next year will be able to claim the same benefits and NHS care as other EU citizens
Last Week the Daily Express reported that one in three vacancies advertised on Romania’s top recruitment agency Tjobs was a British job. Out of the 87,786 jobs on the agency’s website, 28,577 jobs were based in Britain.
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Mr Ivan’s letter to the Daily Express:
I learned with great disappointment about the campaign started by the Daily Express against Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants and about the petition that the publication intends to submit to the Government asking for the UK to evade the provisions of the European Union.
I thus ask you to stop this endeavour and to recognise the right of Romanian and Bulgarian citizens in a free labour market.
If Great Britain is a member of the European Union, then it must comply with the rules and regulations to which it has committed itself. Therefore, you cannot ask for the EU to have mechanisms applicable in 27 Member States, but not in the UK.
The Treaty of Accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union makes it clear that there can be no restrictions on the labour market after 2014. In these circumstances, your publication asks for the violation of European law and for the denial of a right of Romanians and Bulgarians.
All studies and estimates show that the UK and other European Union member states will not be “invaded” by Romanian or Bulgarian citizens once the liberalisation of the labour market is implemented. Those willing to work abroad have already established themselves in different EU countries, which means that the restrictions will not affect British citizens who are looking for jobs.
The problem is the attempt to stimulate an unfounded and unacceptable fear of immigrants, that cannot be tolerated in a Union based on principles such as freedom of movement, a Union which has brought benefits for your country and continues to do so. Unfortunately, your publication exploits and amplifies this fear.
I also wish to express my outrage regarding the negative and totally false image that your publications’ campaign assigns to Romanian citizens. Such a representation of people of other nationalities encourages extremist attitudes and harms the entire European Union.
Leader of the Romanian delegation to the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament
See on www.express.co.uk