European Parliament Election 2014: Romanian tales to set against Nigel Farage’s fear-mongering

Some Britons have been delighted at the latest wave of immigration

Being a good neighbour has always been important to Andreea Neacsu. She grew up in a small town in Romania where the necessity of being considerate to whomever lives next door was drummed  into her.

For the last year Ms Neacsu, 28, has lived in south-west London with her six-year-old daughter Maria and her partner Martin. Since she moved to Britain five years ago to work as a nanny, she has made a point of befriending her neighbours, an attitude that doesn’t quite fit with the disparaging insinuation made by Nigel Farage last week that Romanians are the last people one would hope to have living next door.

The Ukip leader has since tried to wriggle away from the comments that he would be “concerned” at having Romanian neighbours, instead criticising the country as a whole and quoting crime statistics about Romanians in Britain.

But Ms Neacsu is bemused by Mr Farage’s comments since she believes Romanian culture specifically encourages neighbourliness.

“For him to say that everyone in their right mind should be worrying about Romanians moving next door is terrible. I remember my parents teaching me to get along with our neighbours,” she said. “We were all Christian Orthodox and it was part of that teaching that it was very important. My parents became like family with their neighbours, that’s the tradition.

“I understand that there are some Romanians who do naughty things but it doesn’t mean that we’re all the same. It’s the same in every nation, we have good and bad people. It’s about the individual not the nation.”

Ms Neacsu’s family has a flat in a row of red brick houses in Twickenham. Marisol Kucharek, 49, who is British, and her partner Trudy live in the flat above them. Ms Kucharek’s father came to the UK as a refugee from Poland in the Second World War. “They’re great neighbours,” she said of Ms Neacsu’s family.

“The previous neighbours we had were also Romanians and they were fantastic too. They are often in the garden and their little girl chats to us over the fence.”

Ms Neacsu’s next door neighbour is a teacher called Kirsten, who has become a family friend. “We share a fence and we love to talk about our garden,” Ms Neacsu said. “We were invited over for Easter and gave each other chocolate eggs.”

Andreea Neacsu: 'To say that everyone should be worried about Romanians moving next door is terrible' (Jason Alden) Andreea Neacsu: 'To say that everyone should be worried about Romanians moving next door is terrible' (Jason Alden)
Her story is echoed by the experiences of many Romanians living alongside Britons. Laura-Adelina Vaduvescu, 29, works as a librarian for the University of the Arts in London and moved to the UK seven years ago from south-west Romania. She has shared a flat in Ealing with British art technician Neil Shepherd, 43, for more than two years.

“I advertised for a flatmate and spoke to about four or five people but she was the one that was most pleasant,” Mr Shepherd recalled.

“It doesn’t matter where who you live next door to is from, it’s about what they’re like. I’ve lived next door to British people who have been difficult. Criminals are criminals, it doesn’t matter where they’re from. Nigel Farage goes on about Eastern European gangs but there are lots of British criminal gangs. Where are they going to send them back to?”

Ms Vaduvescu said: “Nigel Farage is trying to make a point but it doesn’t really stand up because he can’t back it up. These claims reinforce people’s beliefs that Romanians are just awful. There are so many misconceptions about Romania. I want Britons to know us better before they make judgements; we’re no different to any other nationality that comes here to work.”

Marie Parsons, 42, from Camberwell in south-east London met her best friend Anna-Maria through their work at Riverside, a recruitment, catering and minicab company run by a Romanian entrepreneur. Anna-Maria, 28, who also lives in south-east London, was so worried by anti-Romanian feeling that she did not want her surname in the paper.

She came to Britain five years ago and said: “I’m not really a political person but it’s just sad that he puts everyone in the same pot. It makes it more complicated for every one of us here in Britain.”

Ms Parsons said: “From the first day she came to the company we just clicked. She’s spent Christmas with us and her family have spent Christmas with us.

Romanian MEP Norica Nicolai sent an open letter to Mr Farage today, inviting him to come and visit Romania. “Face your fears, Mr Farage!” she said. “I can assure you that you will be happier for it.”

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news

Sport
footballThe latest scores and Twitter updates from tonight’s games, featuring Bayern Munich vs Man City and Chelsea vs Schalke
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
Extras
10 best table lamps
indybest
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

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's Stortford / Stansted

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week