Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Eastern Europeans make wonderful immigrants

I am pleased (though terrified by) by Brexit but I think Romanians and other Eastern Europeans make great immigrants. I hope and think the UK will continue to accept, in fairly large extent, freedom of movement for Europeans. Switzerland and Norway, not in EU, allow complete freedom of movement for EU citizens. 

This is what I wrote in February 2013. 

Admitting a million Poles, even though in good manners, industry, church attendance and many other ways they put the English to shame, was certainly a mistake on the part of the UK. We know this because ministers said they expected tens of thousands to come. Still, if Britain and other Western European countries have decided that they need immigrants, and they have, they should be very grateful that the EU has a supply on hand of Eastern European would-be immigrants. Yet while the British press worry about an influx of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants after January 1 2014, David Cameron announces that 

‘There is no limit on the number of  students who can come from India to study at British universities, no limit at all. All you need is a basic English qualification and a place at a  British university. What’s more, after you’ve left a British university, if you can get a graduate-level job there is no limit to the amount of people who can stay and work, or the time that they can stay at work.’

Romanians, like other people from the former Eastern Bloc,  are highly-educated, conservative, Christian and European. Romanians come from a Near Eastern culture, unlike the Poles, who are Catholics and Central Europeans, but they bring with them so many qualities that the British seem to produce less often than in the past. Romanian women are womanly (and very often beautiful), Romanian men are virile even if they seem very effete at first sight. Romanians are family minded, esteem education and usually believe in God. Best of all, they come from a part of the world where the 1960s never happened.

Romanians were disappointed but not in the least surprised by the noisy British reluctance to let them settle in the UK. As far as Romanians are concerned, they blame this reluctance on confusion abroad between Romanians and Roma. (Roma is the modish, EU-approved term for gypsies.) It is no use saying to Romanians that Romanian gypsies are both Romanian and Roma. ‘Romanian’ is understood here as an ethnicity not a citizenship. A Romanian man I know, for example, always says that he is Greek not Romanian, even though his family came to Romania in the t860s. Similarly, few ethnic Romanians think Romania’s Hungarians, German or Jewish minorities are Romanian. Children of mixed marriages do though.

Romanians usually have a very high opinion of England, based partly on books and films. I would expect Romanians to be disappointed by the reality of violent crime, binge drinking, feminism and innumerable rules. Romania, where people smoke in bars and say whatever they like about most things, is a much freer country these days. But no, Romanians usually love England and so they should. Things work in England and people are kind and honest, though the trusting nature of the English provokes wonder and seems naive. Britain is still a wonderful country and London is the only big city in Europe which is not a museum. The small minority of Romanians I spoke to who did not like England gave as their reason the number of non-white people there.


  1. "I am pleased (though terrified by) by Brexit but I think Romanians and other Eastern Europeans make great immigrants."

    * Why the BUT? So Brexit is/was about immigration?

    "I hope and think the UK will continue to accept, in fairly large extent, freedom of movement for Europeans."

    ...Hope, indeed, especially as many thousands of expats including the blogger have benefitted from the EU freedom of movement regime in the last decade.

    "Switzerland and Norway, not in EU, allow complete freedom of movement for EU citizens. " the time of writing this is factually correct. It should be pointed out the the EU is considering booting Switzerland out of the single market as a result of the 2014 referendum against "mass immigration". Even the Swiss are going to learn you cannot have your cask and eat it!

    1. I settled in Romania before Romania was even accepted by the EU as a candidate for EU membership, long long before free movement of people became a factor - but from my selfish point of view the EU brings advantages. But Brexit will do a lot of good for the EU - INCLUDING Romania. And for the next generation in the UK.

    2. Hear hear!
      How can someone in his right mind support an technocracy as EU. In particular Romanians who know the inevitable outcome of such a social arrangement. There is one small step to tyranny, and the immigration issue is just a warning. I too pray that free movement will continue in EU. The main issue about immigration is the limited availability of welfare. The minute a country blindly offers welfare to mass immigrants(in particular immigrants from very different cultures) the anti-immigration sentiment is inevitably on it's way. This is the only issue; the rest is noise and propaganda. The advocates of open borders should take into account that open borders work ONLY if there is no welfare. Wishing for both is wishing for having the cake and eat it too.