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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project