Worried about immigration? Then come to Romania - all our women look like Kate and Pippa

Bucharest hits back at migrant fears with cheeky ad campaign promoting tourism

“Half of our women look like Kate. The other half, like her sister,” the poster reads. Another points out: “Charles bought a house here in 2005. And Harry hasn’t been photographed naked once.”

Romania has hit back at British fears of a sudden influx of immigrants, launching its own tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign to persuade disillusioned Britons to travel east and swap Bognor for Bucharest.

“You have bad weather, no jobs, no houses? That sounds bad. Why don’t you come live here instead?” reads one poster on the Romanian news website Gandul, which is behind the humorous campaign, entitled “Why don’t you come over? - We may not like Britain, but you’ll love Romania.”

Restrictions on British visas for citizens of Bulgaria and Romania are due to be lifted at the end of the year, and ministers are believed to be considering a “negative poster campaign” to protect Britain from an “invasion” of migrants from both countries and to correct the impression that Britain’s streets are “paved with gold”.

While even the most modest wages in Britain are far higher than the £300 monthly average in Romania and Bulgaria, Brits travelling the other way will find their money goes a long way, the advertising campaign points out.

“Our draft beer is less expensive than your bottled water,” brags one of the posters, which should be soon visible around popular Romanian tourist sites, airport and hotels – and perhaps even in London.

Noting that Romanians have 11 words for humour, Mihai Gongu, the campaign’s creative director, told The Independent: “The British have the best humour - but we’re quite good too.”

Mr Gongu hopes his campaign will also improve Romania’s image. “Most of us are decent, hardworking people who pay their taxes, in Romania, or in the UK,” he said, adding that he believes the “majority of Romanians in the UK help the economy.”

Extending an informal invitation to Romania, he hopes, will help to persuade Britons that Romanians are actually “nice, friendly and welcoming”, and not “all beggars and thieves”.

“We had to react, to talk about good things,” Mr Gongu said, referring to reports of Britain’s planned scaremongering campaign. “The image of Romanians in the British and European press is biased… We like spending time with our families, going to the pub with our friends after work. We’re exactly like everyone else,” he added. “Our typical family is [like] a typical British family.”

The negative perceptions of the two countries have not gone unnoticed across the border in Bulgaria. There, the government has decided to allocate 440,000 Bulgarian Lev (£192,000) to boost the reputation of its citizens and “affirm the positive image of Bulgaria as an EU member state”.

Bulgarian and Romanian MPs at the European Parliament have also sent a letter to the European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, complaining about the UK’s shabby treatment of the “newest member states”.

“We believe that a wave of hostile statements since the beginning of the year aims to stigmatise [citizens of Bulgaria and Romania] as second-class Europeans,” the letter reads.

They fear that visa restrictions may not be lifted owing to public protest. “We are worried… we hear statements of representatives of the British government sounding a false alarm about the danger of a Romanian-Bulgarian invasion, which would destabilise the British society,” it continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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: Customer Service / Receptionist

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator - Legal Department

£19000 - £19665 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking to join an awar...

Recruitment Genius: IT Infrastructure Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking to find a...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Manager / Technical Executive

£25000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity exists ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss