Month: December 2013
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Recording of the BBC Midlands Masala programme on December 29, 2013, with Mihai Cocoru, the York Romanian Society (YRS) Director for National Activity, discussing the image of the Romanian community in the UK.
Article from The Huffington Post, 19/12/2013:
The Romanian ambassador has hit out at the “vilification” of his countrymen amid growing calls on the Conservative benches for Romanians and Bulgarians to be banned for five years from given full European Union rights to live and work in Britain.
On January 1 2014 the transition controls that prevent Romanians and Bulgarians from settling in the UK in the same way the French or Germans can will come to an end. Ukip has exploited fears over a flood of migrants to fuel its surge in the polls.
And at least 73 backbench Tory MPs, in part spooked by the rise and rise of Nigel Farage, have demanded David Cameron’s flagship Immigration Bill be amended to extend the ban until 2019. The proposal will be debated in parliament this afternoon.
Writing for The Huffington Post UK, Nigel Mills, the Conservative behind the amendment, said the UK’s job market and welfare system was not in a position to handle the unknown number of immigrants and there was “no other solution” than to keep the drawbridge raised.
However the Romanian ambassador to Britain, Dr Ion Jinga, has insisted that it was likely fewer Romanians would decide to move to the UK in 2014 than in previous years.
Also writing for The Huffington Post UK, the ambassador said: “Most of Romanians who came to the UK did so for work, not for benefits. We plead in favour of honest, hard working people, who pay taxes and contribute to the society.”
And he also warned British voters they could not have it both ways. “No one in the EU migrates more than Britons do,” he said. “According to a 2011 World Bank report, 4.7million British people live outside their own country, and almost half of them have settled elsewhere in the EU.
“There are thousands of Britons who work in Romania. If you demand the right to seek work in someone else’s country, they should be able to do the same in yours. That is only fair.”
Jinga said that further “vilification” of Romanians could end up putting off Europeans from wanting to move to Britain, leading to large number of job vacancies in financial services, IT, research or the NHS.
Today’s Commons debate, led by MIlls, was scheduled after Cameron’s flagship Immigration Bill went AWOL. The prime minister had previously described the legislation as the centre piece of his agenda and boasted it would prevent migrants from being able to move to the UK and “expect something for nothing”.
However perhaps unwilling to have to suffer a huge rebellion from his own benches, and unable to agree to the amendment given it would go against one of the founding principles of the EU, the Bill has not returned for further parliamentary scrutiny before Christmas as expected. Imposing a ban on the free movement of labour would also be a no-go as far as Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems were concerned.
Writing for HuffPost UK today, Mills said: “It would have been far better for the standing of parliament for us to have had the chance to challenge the government’s position and have a vote before the restrictions are lifted – but at least the debate today will allow us to test the government’s position in some more detail.”
Conservative MPs point to Labour’s wild underestimation of the number of Polish immigrants that would move to Britain after transition controls were lifted in 2005. They do not want the same to happen again and are reported to have challenged Cameron on the subject during a meeting on Wednesday evening.
Mills said: “We should be entitled as a sovereign Parliament to say that we made a mistake, we’ve changed our mind and these restrictions need to stay in place, at least until our economy has sufficiently recovered.”
“The only way to deal with that is to keep the restrictions until our economy has recovered or until a longer term solution is found. And so, even at this very late stage, I urge the government to keep the restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian migration for a further five years – I can see no other solution,” he said.
Article from Huffington Post, 16/12/2013 09:37:
As the moment of lifting restrictions on the labour market approaches, it seems that, for a part of the British media, Romanians are the perfect scapegoat to be held responsible for almost everything that goes wrong in the UK. A recent article published by Daily Mailclaiming that “Romanians arrested at seven times rate of Britons” is just another unfortunate example.
The article contains outrageous distortions of reality which tries to manipulate the British public opinion. Following its publication, the Embassy of Romania received apologies from the Metropolitan Police for the way the presentation they made at the City Hall on fighting crime in London, was distorted in the article.
The Daily Mail claims that “For every 1000 Romanians in London, 183 are arrested”. As the number of Romanians arrested is 800, it is supposed that the total Romanian community in London is around 4,300 persons… In fact, there are more than 60,000 people.
So, in reality, for every 1,000 Romanians in London, only 13 were arrested, which – according to the figures presented by Daily Mail (“26 Britons per 1000 are arrested in London”) – is half of the arrest rate for Britons.
Needless to say that “arrested” is different from “convicted” or “charged” and in many cases the same person has been arrested several times. A simple ID check could become an “arrest” if the person is invited to the police station and registered in the database.
During the presentation the New Scotland Yard has done to the City Hall, three examples of foreign nationals arrested were given. None of them was of Romanian nationality, but pictures joining the article in the Daily Mail show Roma/gypsy people, allegedly presented as “Homeless Romanians” – this is more that manipulation, this is racism! Some of the rough sleepers and beggars in central London are Romanian gypsies, but they represent only a tiny minority of all those people sleeping rough or begging in the area.
The article also suggests that many of those people are linked to cash point fraud, but there is no evidence at all that beggars are involved in counterfeiting cards or stealing from cash machines. According to a recent statement of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit in London: “The latest annual figures show that, in 2012, the top five countries for fraudulent activity on UK issued cards were USA, France, Luxembourg, Italy and Ireland”. Romanians are not mentioned on this top list. In fact, in their overwhelming majority, Romanians in the UK are well integrated, work hard, they respect the law and are respected by the local communities they are living in.
As mentioned in the presentation made by the Metropolitan Police, I have recently met representatives of the operation Nexus. The British officers reassured me that the proportion of crimes committed in London by Romanian nationals is similar to their proportion in London’s population. This confirms what the home secretary has recently made clear, that the level of crime by foreign national in the capital is line with their representation in the population. Romanians make no exception. Just a couple of days ago, hundreds of police officers from the MET, together with Romanian and Polish colleagues, organized a raid in Soho in crackdown on organized crime. They have operated 30 arrests, but no Romanian was arrested. As crime statistics show, in the last quarter the number of crimes committed by Romanian citizens in the UK has decreased by 20%. This is also due to the excellent cooperation we have developed between Romanian and British police forces.
Last September, the business secretary Vince Cable remarked that “Britain is developing an absolutely toxic public opinion on immigration”. If this is the case, I believe that by distorting figures and evidence related to the presence of foreigners in the UK, part of the British media has a huge responsibility in this.
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ES Dr Ion Jinga, Ambasadorul Romaniei in Regatul Unit al Marii Britanii si Irlandei de Nord discutand despre cadrul legal al prezentei romanesti in Regatul Unit dupa 1 ianuarie 2014. Inregistrare a Radio Romania International (9.12. 2013)
Antena3.ro, 08 DEC 2013:
Comunitatea românească din Marea Britanie se mobilizează, iar vocea ei este din ce în ce mai auzită, a declarat ambasadorul României în Marea Britanie, Ion Jinga, într-o intervenţie telefonică în ediţia de duminică a emisiunii “Secvenţial”, de la Antena 3.
Ambasadorul român a arătat că, referitor la subiectul imigranţilor români şi bulgari în Marea Britanie, trebuie făcută o distincţie clară între mesajul oficial al Guvernului de la Londra şi anumite discursuri politice “destinate consumului intern”, ori “ceea ce face presa tabloidă”.
Ion Jinga a mai afirmat că subiectul privind falsa invazie a românilor şi bulgarilor va rămâne în atenţia britanicilor până la alegerile pentru Parlamentul European, şi asta din cauza potenţialului său electoral.
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Ambassador Ion Jinga discussing the issue of victimisation of Romanians in the United Kingdom — Video recording from Sky News.