Nigel Farage MEP
November 6, 2013
In December 2006 I visited Romania with the Daily Express on the invitation of the Romanian government as the country was on the cusp of joining the EU. I stood in the mud of a street market and talked to the locals. It was clear many wanted to come to Britain.
Many already have. Then in May I went to Bulgaria. I visited Fakulteta outside Sofia, a place described as a “gypsy ghetto”. I received an incredibly warm welcome. I was supposed to be the political ogre from Britain who opposed their right to move to the UK and yet, as always in Eastern Europe, the food was served, the drink flowed and we got on famously. The simple reason is that, unlike our formal diplomatic representatives, I was honest. I told them that I believed large numbers will come to the UK and they laughed and generally agreed.
Anybody who has visited these places will understand why so many people wish to come to the UK. They will understand the grinding poverty and base discrimination that people on the edges of Balkan society face, they will understand how Britain with its easy-to-access welfare system would look like a reasonable option.
Factor in, in the case of the Roma, that the Eastern European Roma have already moved to the UK from countries such as Slovakia and Hungary – having already set up family and social networks here – and the problem is amplified.
Ukip’s position on the relaxing of rules for Bulgaria and Romania has always been clear. They are countries whose GDP is several factors lower than our own. We know there are job agencies setting up in both countries advertising work and others giving advice on how to access the UK benefits system.
It is in the words of immigration specialists a significant pull factor. The UK has more than 20 per cent of under-25s out of work, nearly a million of our young people, and yet through ignorance, short sightedness or mere loyalty to our membership of the EU the Government seems to care more about the lives of those in Falkuteta than they do for those in Warrington, Wigan or West Byfleet.
It is a simple fact of supply and demand. If there is an oversupply of unskilled labour wages drop. Opening our doors in January to all Bulgarians and Romanians will create an even greater oversupply than we already experience. Scarce jobs will become even harder to find and employers will have every reason to reduce wages – in part explaining why much big business is so keen on both EU membership and mass migration: it lets them keep wages low and profits high.
This is not a moral argument but a brutal, simple economic one. Given that we have downgraded our education system by refusing to allow selection it is no surprise that our young people are increasingly unsuited to compete. And yet the political elite from the main parties blame our young for their unpreparedness for the jobs market. It is not our under- 25s who have had their hands on the tiller of education.