When Romanians and Bulgarians become the EU's newest members in 2007, they may find they are less than welcome in the more prosperous West. The Poles, who joined in 2004, may have beaten them to it.
On posters across
After 10 countries joined the European Union in 2004 – most of them from
Worries about eastern European migrants undercutting wages in
This time round,
Europe’s Poorest Member
Both before and after the end of Communism,
The possibility of a further exodus poses a dilemma for Western European countries. Not applying restrictions means attractive prices for consumers, but bad news for "native" workers in the construction business. Allowing unfettered migration would also play into the hands of populist parties that oppose immigration or E.U. integration, such as the National Front in France or the U.K. Independence Party.
But imposing limits could create a large black market for labour and open the way for exploitative treatment by unscrupulous employers. And a wave of emigration would deal a heavy blow to
However, some say fears of a human flood westwards are exaggerated. President Basescu's administration believes continued foreign investment in
Commentators such as the Paris-based Romanian television correspondent Paul Cozighian also point out that a strong "can-do" culture has evolved among the younger generation which is keen to create business opportunities at home.
Whether fears of a wave of migrants are well-founded or not, one thing is sure: wealthier countries shutting their doors to workers will damage relations with
Romanian expatriate organisations in the
Meanwhile an interview in one of
Date created : 2006-12-02