POLITICS

Romania rejects British ‘scrounger’ stereotype

Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean is not happy with the tone of the debate surrounding Romanian and Bulgarian immigration to the UK, he has told the BBC. Transitional controls on freedom of movement, imposed when the two countries joined the EU in 2007, expire at the end of the year – and there is pressure on the government to prevent a significant wave of migrants arriving. “This type of debate in British society is quite surprising and we regret it,” Mr Corlatean said. “It’s quite enough.”
He expressed frustration at reports which stereotype Romanians as criminals or scroungers, and said predictions of a flood of migrants arriving in the UK in 2014 were exaggerated.  Many Romanians working abroad, he argued, play a valuable role in the economies of other countries, including the UK. There are more than 2,000 Romanian doctors in Britain.  “They are not immigrants, they are European citizens with full rights,” he added. But Mr Corlatean played down suggestions of a diplomatic rift and said he had discussed migration issues several times with British officials, including Foreign Secretary William Hague. “I received clear assurances that the UK will respect the free movement of Romanians and Bulgarians, and it will respect European treaties.”

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