Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev issues warning to David Cameron on immigration and ‘nationalism’

Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable says controversial 75,000 cap on migrants ‘isn’t going to happen’

The Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev has warned David Cameron that his immigration policy risks turning Britain into a country of “isolation, nationalism and shot-term political approaches”.

Urging the Prime Minister to think on how he will be remembered by future generations, Mr Pleveliev added that his own country’s approach to its recent first wave of immigrants could be a “lesson” for the UK to follow.

His comments come as leaked Home Office plans for a 75,000 cap on immigration were criticised by the Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. He said Britain should not be “sticking a big no-entry sign on the cliffs of Dover”.

And this morning Mr Clegg was backed by Business Secretary Vince Cable, his Lib Dem colleague, who told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show a cap would be “illegal and impossible to implement” and therefore “isn't going to happen”.

Speaking in an interview with the Observer, Mr Plevneliev asked: “Are we in Great Britain today writing a history of a switch to isolation, nationalism and short-term political approaches?”

In a direct challenge to the Prime Minister, he added: “Mr Cameron should address the daily agenda of British politics. But he should never forget that a politician is remembered in history not with the everyday business.

“Politicians should be ready to say the inconvenient truth and fight for unpleasant but necessary decisions which, in the short term, will bring our ratings down but, in the long term, preserve our values and keep the history of our proud tolerant nations as they are.”

Bulgaria recently experienced its first wave of immigration in modern times, amounting to some 11,000 people in the last two years, and its president said: “We might even be able to give a lesson to Great Britain. As a country that is not so rich and not so powerful, we are trying to understand not so much how many could come to Bulgaria but how we can integrate them.”

Mr Clegg also rejected an isolationist approach, writing in the Sunday Times that stopping immigration would “come at huge economic cost”.

He said: “What would happen if tonight every European living in the UK boarded a ship or plane and went home?

“Are we really that keen to see the back of German lawyers, Dutch accountants or Finnish engineers? Do we want the NHS to fall over and the City of London to grind to a halt?”

Estimates vary enormously on the number of Bulgarians and Romanians who will come to Britain when their EU migration restrictions are removed on 1 January.

Some thinktanks estimate as many as 50,000 will arrive every year, while the countries’ ambassadors predict a great deal fewer.

The Government is pushing through plans to make it harder for migrants to gain access to benefits, and while Downing Street accepts that freedom of movement is one of the founding principles of the EU, it says it cannot be unqualified.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
news
Sport
Danny Cipriani of England breaks clear to score his second try
rugby
Life and Style
New research says leaving your desk can help you to avoid serious illness
health
Arts and Entertainment
tvSPOILER ALERT: Like a mash-up of 28 Days Later, Braveheart, The Killing and Lord of the Rings, this GoT episode was a belter
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral