DIPLOMACY

In Brexit fallout, ambassador Mihalache advises calm for Romanians in UK and at home

In the Brexit fallout, Romania’s ambassador to the UK Dan Mihalache advises calm to the Romanians who are at work or on business in the UK, as well as to those at home, Romanian media included; he assures that there is no immediate risk of them losing their jobs or having their freedom of movement restricted.

“I believe concerns are reasonable, but I call on everybody to treat things with calm and understand that the exit process and its implications on the EU and the Romanian citizens will not take place overnight, so that in the next period I do not think we should needlessly fret about that. We’ll see how things settle, how the negotiation process unfolds, on the one hand between the UK and the EU, and on the other hand, between Britain and Romania. For now, I want to assure them that nothing will happen to their business, their jobs or the freedom to move unhindered in the EU space,” ambassador Dan Mihalache told Agerpres in an interview on Friday.

Mihalache estimates that only in autumn, after the UK holds elections, one might know more clearly the steps to follow after the Brexit referendum.

“Probably in early autumn, after the Conservative Party leadership election and after an early general election is possibly held – anyway there will be a new government – we’ll have a clearer picture of the timeline. For now, we don’t have a timeline, not even at the level of decision-makers,” said the Romanian ambassador.

Mihalache also invited the Romanian media to refrain from troubling the waters.

“I would call on the media at home – now that I’ve seen several shows – not to trigger collective hysteria. Let us handle things rationally, just as they are. After we see what the route is, we’ll draw the conclusions and explain them,” said Mihalache.

He added that the Romanian Embassy in London received last week many calls from Romanians in the UK inquiring whether they can still travel with the ID card or if they need a passport, if they still can work in the UK or will have to return home. Mihalache says no Romanian reported having been subject to any aggression whatsoever.

“Yes, there sure have been many calls. It would be hard to tell you a figure, but there is a sort of general nervousness and uncertainty; a lot of information is being circulated in the public space. There has been a certain post-referendum tension in the UK public opinion, things sometimes degenerated into threats to foreign communities. Thank goodness we haven’t had, or at least we at the embassy have no such knowledge, we didn’t get reports about Romanian citizens being verbally or physically abused, so we weren’t targeted, but in this climate of post-referendum uncertainty and tension (…) our fellow Romanians who live and work there are rightly worried,” said ambassador Mihalache.

He said that there is no talk of a wave of Romanians departing from the UK after the referendum.

“Not as far as I know. No. Questions are being asked but we couldn’t point to any surge in their desire to return home,” said the diplomat.

For Romania’s image in the UK to improve, ambassador Dan Mihalache believes better communication is needed as well as “stricter police cooperation that will send home certain people who don’t necessarily do us honour,” he said, referring to Romanian beggars in central London.

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