23 Novemeber 2008. The Tory Member of Parliament said the government is keeping the restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals because of “awful politics”. He promised to open a debate in the British Parliament, after the New Year.
Greg Hands MP examined the negative publicity promoted by the mass-media against Romanians and accused the government of populism in dealing with the restrictions. He commented: “Romanians and Bulgarians, the new European citizens, shouldn’t pay the price of the unexpectedly massive Polish immigration to the UK.”
The British MP pleaded for non-discrimination and proposed a single category (A10) which could reunite A8 and A2 countries. The eight East European states that joined the European Union in 2004 are so called A8, while Romania and Bulgaria - A2.
Greg Hands is informed that the government is going to keep the restrictions. However, he made a promise to open a debate in the UK Parliament defending a non-discriminatory policy towards Romanians and Bulgarians. “After New Year I will start a debate in the House of Commons”, Greg Hands told during a meeting at the Upper Room NGO in Hammersmith, London.
Also, he mentioned the economic crisis that represents an opportunity for the government to keep discrimination of the two east European nationals even if they represent a small per cent in the total of immigration.
Last Thursday, Greg Hands met English and Romanian social workers and journalists at the Upper Room - a specialist service that supports migrant workers and people from the new accession countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
If the British government decided to prolong the current restrictions, which expire in the end of December, the Romanians and the Bulgarians would not be able to get a job in British companies after 2009 as well. The only exemptions from the rule are the freelancers, the students and the seasonal workers in the agriculture.