Romania is one of the poorest countries to join the European Union. The country’s GDP amounts to 30% of the EU average. The prospects of higher earnings and a legal status after accession as migrant workers, make the UK a very attractive labor market for Romanians and Bulgarians. Just like the more than 200,000 Poles who have registered for work in the UK in the last two years, Romanians are very well appreciated. Eugen Urcan has been working in Ireland for 7 years:
Soundbite: “I can tell you that Irish people are so satisfied, happy with Romanian workers because Romanian workers are working very hard and very well. The competition will be higher and they will save on costs.”
Romanians and Bulgarians follow 3 years after the 8 East European countries that joined the bloc in 2004. In the last two years, these countries have exported more than 400,000 workers to Great Britain. And this figure is 20 times higher than initially estimated. A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions in the UK told me that the 8 countries which joined in 2004 have had a broadly positive effect on the UK labor market. But the chairman of Migration Watch UK, Sir Andrew Green, fears 200,000 Romanians and 80,000 Bulgarians estimated to seek work in Great Britain after the two countries’ integration might be more than the UK can take.
Soundbite: “What is clear is that the numbers are very large and they’re starting to have an impact on employment and also on housing, so there is some concern in Britain that the total flow of immigration is already too high.”
Reporter: “Is this concern backed by economic figures? Do you think there’s an economic case for migration?”
The plans by British ministers to introduce a work permit scheme to restrict the number of Romanians and Bulgarians seeking jobs in the UK have triggered the reaction of Romanian president Traian Basescu, who said Romanians will not be treated as second class citizens of the EU. He also warned countries that choose to apply this system, that Romania will apply similar measures to their citizens. However president Basescu is known to like popularity and few actually believe it will ever come down to that.
The home office in London is reserved. They are still analyzing the matter while postponing any decision. According to their spokesman, a final decision will be made once Romania’s accession date is confirmed. And that might happen on September the 26th when the European Commission is due to publish a decisive monitoring report on Romania and Bulgaria’s preparedness for EU accession.Listen to the report:
The Hungarian capital was the scene of repeated overnight violence and demonstrations this week. These were prompted by what will probably go down in history, as one of the worst gaffes made by a ruling politician. Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, admitted in a behind-doors meeting that his government “messed up and lied”. The problem is that all of this was leaked to the press, and led to demonstrations and riots. Network Europe’s EU insider reports from the Hungarian capital, Budapest.
What did Hungary’s socialist Prime Minister say exactly ? His leaked comments have sparked off the Budapest riots, but are there other reasons for discontent in Hungary? Radio Romania International has the answers.
In Sweden, voters have sent the Social Democrats into opposition in last week-end’s general elections. Swedes normally refuse to go right, the Social Democrats have been in the driving seat for most of the last eighty years. But this time apparently, they thought it was time for a change. Frederik Reinfeldt, the leader of the centre right coalition and next prime minister, is working to form a new government which is due to take power on the fifth of October. Radio Sweden tells what people in Sweden can expect from the new team in power.
On Wednesday the leader of the National Front, Jean Marie Le Pen, announced he would run in the country’s next presidential elections in Spring, his fifth bid for the presidency. The seventy eight year old leader made the announcement from the battlefield of Valmy, a key site in the history of the French Revolution. Can Le Pen, notorious for his racist and revisionist remarks, succeed in presenting himself as a Republican ? Can he capitalise on his breakthrough into the second round of the country's elections four years ago ? Radio France International reports from Valmy.
The Polish authorities have declared they will send a thousand soldiers to Afghanistan, as part of a NATO multinational force. The decision is to some extent a logical consequence of the country's support for American-led operations in the war on terror. But for the first time, the national consensus on Poland's role in such missions, seems to have been broken, with the opposition accusing the government of sending Polish troops into combat, rather than a peacekeeping mission.
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