Embassy News

Ambassador's interview with Murnaghan On Sky News - Transcript

On 3 February 2013,  at 11.15, the Ambassador Romania in London, Dr Ion Jinga, was invited at "Murnaghan  On Sky Newsto present Romanian authorities' stance on lifting the  labour market restrictions imposed in the UK  on the Romanian workers .

Please find below the transcript of the Ambassador's intervention:

Dermot Murnaghan: Let’s talk now to Romania’s Ambassador to the UK, Ion Jinga, a very good morning to you. I saw you nodding along there with a lot of what you heard there from the Foreign Minister, just first of all, he touched up on it and you’re living in this country, what do you make of, would you call them scare stories that are appearing in the press and on the television screens about nationals from your country and from Bulgaria coming here in 2014? What do you feel when you read some of those articles?

DR ION JINGA: Honestly, I believe this is a false problem and I’ll tell you why, for many reasons. First, because Romanians’ immigration pattern is not to the UK, but to Spain, Italy and France, because of the language proximity, Romanian being a Latin language. We have one million Romanians already living and working in Spain, one million in Italy and probably half a million in France. According to the last figures released last week by the British Office for National Statistics, there are only 68,000 Romanians that have Romanian as their first language in Britain or, to put it in a different way, the Romanian language is the first language for 68,000 people in Britain. Which means that in seven years since our accession to the European Union only about 70 to 80,000 people came to Britain.

DM: Well there have been restrictions in place but what happened … just let me push it on because time is limited here but if we come to 2014 and the UK government is unilaterally or however putting some restrictions on let’s say access to benefits or health services or something like that for Romanian nationals, what does Romania do about it? Does it say look, this is the single market, we have access to your country just the same way as UK nationals have access to ours?

IJ: That was the point I wanted to raise to you, because those Romanians who wanted to come to Britain, they already did it. There are some restrictions for some areas of activity but no visa requirements, so those who wanted to come, they already did it. It is always a possibility to find a job even if it is under restrictions and that solution is to declare yourself as self-employed and many Romanians did so. That’s why, for instance, in the constructions sector there are many Romanians here and that’s why your Olympic Village was built, last year, by Romanians.

DM: We understand that contribution and are probably thankful for it but what about benefits? I mean the benefit system is more generous than that in Romania, won’t people come here and just avail themselves of that?

IJ: The Romanian community in Britain has in proportion of 70% an age average between of 18 and 35, they are an active community. According to a study released last year by the British government, called Push and Pull Factors for Romanians and Bulgarians in the UK, only 4.4% of Romanians are unemployed here, whereas the active people are in a proportion of 85%. That is the highest proportion of active people from all foreigners in the UK, so Romanians did not come here to ask for social benefits but to work and they are a young community, they do not need healthcare, they do not need social assistance. I believe we have also an important contribution to the British healthcare system because more than 2,000 of our Romanian doctors came to work here, they have been recruited here and more than 2,000 Romanian nurses, this is a problem to us and we’d like to bring them back because we also need them in Romania.

DM: That’s an important point. Mr Ambassador, thank you very much indeed, Ion Jinga there.

The video will be available shortly on:

Sky News Murnaghan



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