Move to Britain? They're all drunks and psychos


Blackleaf
#1
Thousands of Bulgarians and Romanians prepare to come to Britain to find work when their countries join the Eu on 1st January 2007.
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Move to Britain? They're all drunks and psychos

Where eastern Europeans went - and how the EU is responding

As ministers plan a work permit system, not all Bulgarians are seduced by the UK

Luke Harding in Sofia
Saturday September 2, 2006
The Guardian



The British are drunks and psychos, say some Bulgarians, and they hate foreigners.




Standing outside the British embassy in Sofia yesterday, Rozalina Boeva admits she wants a better life. After three years she has had enough - of Britain. She is coming home to Bulgaria.

"I'm fed up. I don't like it in Britain much," Ms Boeva, a 37-year-old care assistant, said. "I find it very discriminating against foreigners. The government seems to tell ordinary people that foreigners living in the UK are dangerous to British people. I don't know why."

Ms Boeva has spent the past three years living and working in Swansea. But she dislikes Britain's culture of binge drinking and the fact that her teenage daughter has been bullied at school. "Some British people are nice. But on Friday and Saturday night everybody gets drunk. Many girls get pregnant at 16 or 17. The general level of education is low. I'm going back for a couple of months to collect our things. Then we'll start a new life in Bulgaria."


A fight: a common late night occurrence on British streets.

Ms Boeva was one of around 50 Bulgarians trying to get or renew visas at the embassy yesterday. Earlier this week the Sun ran a front-page photograph showing what it said was a vast queue of Bulgarians who had "laid siege" to the building. The Bulgarians intended to work in the UK when Bulgaria - together with Romania - joined the EU on January 1, the paper suggested.

In fact, most of those queuing up yesterday were visiting Britain for a holiday. Others already lived in the UK and were renewing visas. But the vigorous tabloid campaign against Bulgarians and Romanians appears to have worked.

On Wednesday ministers indicated that the government intends to introduce a work permit system requiring them to prove that they can fill specific skill shortages. Having earlier promised to open the UK labour market to workers from both countries, the British government, the biggest supporter of the EU's enlargement to include the countries of former eastern Europe, now appears to have performed an embarrassing volte face.

The move has left ministers in Bulgaria's socialist-led coalition government fuming. "It's absolute nonsense," Evgeniya Koldanova, Bulgaria's deputy foreign minister, said yesterday. "I'm disappointed."

Ms Koldanova takes issue with Home Office predictions that, given the chance, 60,000 to 140,000 Bulgarians and Romanians are likely to move to Britain next year. The Bulgarian government says the total number of migrants going abroad will be more like 10,000 to 15,000.

A Gallup poll in February suggested the number of Bulgarians wanting to leave the country has gone down to 7%. Of those, most wanted to go to the US, Spain, Greece, Italy and Germany. Only 0.2% to 0.4% mentioned Britain.

There was suspicion here this week that the decision to restrict access to Britain's labour market has nothing to do with Bulgaria and everything to do with British domestic politics.

Since the collapse of communism in 1989 Bulgaria has flourished. Unemployment is just under 9%, just above the EU average, and less than that in Germany.

In Sofia, an attractive city surrounded by mountains and forests of pines and birch, there is building work everywhere. BMWs are more in evidence than tractors.

Bulgarians point out that most of the country's young talent has already left. Over the past 16 years nearly 1.5 million Bulgarians have gone to work abroad, mostly to the US and Canada. The population has shrunk from 9 million to 7.6 million. The trend is now slowing.

"I want to stay here. It's my country," says Rostislav Tsonev, a 20-year-old student at Sofia University. Another student, Irina Lichkova, 24, adds: "I spent five months working in Belfast last summer. To be honest most of the people I met there were psychos."

Last week the foreign minister, Ivaylo Kalfin, said any new migration to Britain was likely to be more of a problem for Bulgaria than for the UK. But Bulgaria is experiencing its own wave of migration - from Britain. British pensioners have bought up thousands of flats on the Black Sea coast and in mountainous ski resorts.

"We are thinking of buying a property here," Bob Newton, 68, in Bulgaria for a two-week holiday with his wife Shirley, 63, said over breakfast at his Sofia hotel. "We went into a couple of estate agents. The prices appear to be so reasonable."

The number of Britons living in Bulgaria has doubled in the past year (some 1,152 were given residency in 2005). Lured by some of the cheapest property prices in Europe, British families have started new lives here. They have sent their children to Bulgarian schools. They have renovated crumbling farmhouses, or dabbled in organic farming. Bulgarian officials politely suggest that by restricting Bulgarians' right to move to the UK, Britain is guilty of double standards.

At the same time, there is no doubt that wages in Britain are significantly higher than in Bulgaria, where average earnings are 200 (135) a month. Pensioners have to survive on 25 a month. And although Bulgaria has become more prosperous, with GDP growing at 7% to 10%, it still lags behind the rest of the EU.

The European commission is due to decide on September 27 whether to allow Bulgaria and Romania to join the EU on January 1, or to delay entry on the grounds that they have not met all the judicial and human rights criteria.

The EU's enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, on a visit to Sofia yesterday, said Bulgaria should do more to tackle organised crime.

But EU officials concede there are far fewer gangland killings in Bulgaria than in London. At the same time, Ms Koldanova points out there are only nine Bulgarians in British jails.

Back at the embassy, Rozalina Boeva says she won't regret her decision to swap Britain for Bulgaria: "There I'm not myself."

guardian.co.uk
 
Carmoral
#2
I think its totally untrue that we Brits are a bunch of piss artists *Hic swig beer hic*
 
tamarin
Conservative
#3
England has gone down the tubes. That's for sure. Their young folk, in general, like those in Canada aren't worth the time of day. Or night. But we're each stuck with them and their loutish celebrity bosses. We'll get them in line. They're needed to look after us and change our diapers and fetch our socks. Put a few years on the yobs and we might even find them tolerable.
 

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