There is no evidence of any influx of Romanians and Bulgarians travelling to Britain since the lifting of restrictions on workers at the start of the year, the EU’s social affairs chief has said.
With the predicted coach loads of citizens from two of the EU’s poorest nations failing to materialise, Commissioner Laszlo Andor said he hoped that politicians would now focus on the facts rather than the myths of free movement in the bloc. “Once people see in the UK that after 1 January there is no influx of Romanians and Bulgarians, the evidence will help to alleviate the existing concerns and people will pay more attention to the fact that the migrant workforce actually brings a lot of benefits,” he said in Brussels.
Mr Andor blamed “the domestic political calendar of some member states, especially referenda in sight on the political horizon” for what he called the “over-emotional and misguided discussion in certain member states”. Ken Clarke, currently David Cameron’s trade advisor, also waded into the debate, telling the Financial Times that migrants have contributed to making Britain more dynamic. He rejected claims that immigration had reached unmanageable levels, telling the newspaper: “I just don’t think it’s true that the EU is responsible for unacceptable waves of migration.”
The European Commission today unveiled a new guide to help member states assess whether migrants qualify for social benefits.