Britain is horrible: Don’t come!

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D’ici un an Bulgares et Roumains, en tant que citoyens européens, pourront légalement travailler et voyager dans les autres pays membres de l’Union européenne. Mais il semblerait qu’ils ne soient pas les bienvenus au Royaume-Uni. En effet, le gouvernement Cameron prévoit le lancement en Bulgarie et en Roumanie d’une campagne de publicité dépréciative au sujet de l’Angleterre, afin de dissuader la population de ces pays de venir s’installer en Grande-Bretagne…

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Next year Romanians and Bulgarians will have the same rights as the other European citizens to travel and work in the European Union, which doesn’t seem to please the Tories, who cried out their fear of a hypothetical mass arrival of Bulgarians and Romanians in Great Britain. Indeed, Philip Hollobone, a conservative MP, declared recently that 425,000 Romanians and Bulgarians will immigrate to Great Britain within two years, whereas MigrationWatch only foresaw 250,000 people over the next five years. It would seem that the British government has already thought to limit this immigration. And David Cameron’s spokeswoman has already warned that Great Britain would welcome only “ the brightest and the best ”citizens. Some Bulgarian and Romanian MEPs think that Great Britain discriminates against the citizens of both countries and they shared their concerns to José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission in a letter: « We believe that a wave of hostile statements since the beginning of the year aims to stigmatize these citizens as second-class Europeans who pose a threat to the social systems just because they want to exercise their basic rights to free movement and work. ». But this letter didn’t make the British government back down.

So, in order to discourage Romanian and Bulgarian immigration in the United Kingdom, Cameron’s government is to implement new strict measures. First of all, ministers want to make it harder for these immigrants to have access to public services, in particular to the National Health Services. Besides, foreigners will risk being deported out of the United Kingdom if they remain unemployed for more than three months. But ministers also announced the future launch of a negative advertising campaign in Romania and Bulgaria, about the standards of living in Britain. According to a minister, the aim of that negative campaign would be to “correct the impression that the streets here are paved with gold”. The idea is to broadcast in both countries TV advertisements that would highlight all the most negative and unappealing aspects of Britain. “Please don’t come to Britain! It rains all the time and the jobs are scarce and low-paid”. What a strange and paradoxical announcement, just a few months after the Olympic Games…

ImageIf that misleading campaign is still a mere project, its mention caused quite a stir within the Coalition Government. Indeed, Lib Dems have fiercely criticized their Tory coalition partners about the possible implementation of those measures. According to the Liberal Democrats, those restrictions, which only target Romanians and Bulgarians, are fundamentally discriminating. All European citizens should be treated equally when they travel within the European Union.

The Government should heed the words of Thorbjoern Jagland, president of the Global Committee of the Nobel Prize, about Europe: “The aim of the European Union is to promote solidarity and brotherhood within its territory”. David Cameron, who missed the Nobel Prize ceremony, seems to have forgotten these principles.

Larisse MARTIAS & Zoélie DUPERIER

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