The mayor of London calls for immigration restriction to be imposed on EU citizens after 2014

UKThe current mayor of London Boris Johnson has proposed that the UK government should limit the number of incoming EU immigrants from the beginning of the next year when the transitional rules for Bulgarian and Romanian workers are removed. According to him the government has to take the necessary steps to renegotiate the EU rules that will permit people from Bulgaria and Romania to come and work in the UK without the need for a work permit.

Bulgarian and Romanian became members of the European Union in 2007. Their citizens received the right to travel and remain freely in any of the union’s countries, but the right work freely was limited when transition rules were imposed by most of the old EU 15 countries. The current EU treaty allows those transitional rules to be extended maximally seven years after a given country has been accepted. This means that after 31 December 2013 the restrictions are to be lifted.

Many in Britain have been especially concerned about the controls coming to an end because of the experience of May 2004 when Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and various other countries joined the EU. At that time UK did not impose any transitional rules for those countries and its labor market was flooded by workers from the newly joined EU states. According to a recent population census Polish is the second most spoken language in Britain after English and nearly 1 million Polish people live in UK. That is way the majority of the British people are severely opposed to the fact that the entry rules fro Bulgarian and Romania will be significantly relaxed after 2013. They fear a second influx of foreign workers which will take their jobs and will lower the average salaries. In reality however it will be very difficult for UK to renegotiate the rules, because free movement of workers is one of the pillars of EU. However the UK government will look for some way to deny Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants the ability to claim social benefits.

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