Romanian crime is a problem in Britain admits their own PM as BBC immigration poll shows hundreds of thousands DO plan to come here when restrictions are liftedBBC Newsnight poll found one in 12 Romanians would consider the UK Also found 13.6 per
cent of Bulgarians may come here this year or next Many have started looking for work and a place to live, survey says
But Ukip says story is 'more shocking than BBC's headline suggest'
Steve Doughty, Jack Doyle and Tamara Cohen
00:34 GMT, 22 April 2013
01:51 GMT, 23 April 2013
The prime minister of Romania has admitted there is a problem with citizens of his country coming to Britain and committing crimes.
Victor Ponta said Roma gypsies, in particular, posed a 'huge challenge' to law enforcement by begging and stealing mobile phones.
He said he supported Britain's moves to tighten up access to benefits for Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants.
Warning: Romania's Prime Minister Victor Ponta has admitted there is a problem
with citizens of his country coming to Britain and committing crimes
Romanian migrants in Park Lane, one of Central London's most prestigious roads. Benefit restrictions are likely to deter Romanian migrants from coming to Britain, a poll has found
Mr Ponta told BBC2's Newsnight: 'I am
very aware that Romanian citizens have committed, not serious crime, but
some of them – Romanians but also representatives of the Roma minority –
they are doing the small criminality, begging, stealing cellular
'I think that first of all we have to
co-operate. Our police and law enforcement agencies should keep
co-operating very well. On the other hand it is a huge challenge and a
big concern for my government to implement the strategies for
integration of the Roma communities.'
Referring to David Cameron's pledge to
tighten benefits legislation to make it harder for migrants to claim,
Mr Ponta said it seemed 'very fair'.
He added: 'That would be very fair from the British point of view, I would support this.
'All we ask is not to have
discrimination, all the legislation which applies to a German citizen or
a French citizen should apply also to a Romanian or a Bulgarian.'
His comments came as the BBC was
accused of playing down the results of its own immigration survey, which
found evidence that more than 100,000 Romanians and Bulgarians may come
to Britain next year.
Seven in ten of the Romanians who are thinking about moving to live in Britain would reconsider in the light of the new system
The Newsnight poll of working-age
migrants in the two Eastern European countries led to headlines across
the BBC's output yesterday declaring there would not be a huge influx
into the UK when EU restrictions end on January 1.
But critics said an analysis of the
results showed large numbers were making firm plans to come, and accused
the BBC of concocting 'nothing-to-see-here headlines'.
The poll quoted figures of 1 per cent of Romanians and 4 per cent of Bulgarians 'actively considering work in the UK'.
'It looks to me that the BBC is engaging, with its headlining of this story, not in reporting the facts, but in influencing the debate'
Ukip leader Nigel Farage
But the MigrationWatchUK think-tank
said the small percentages represented 150,000 Romanians and 200,000
A separate question asking who was making 'concrete plans'
suggested figures of 61,000 Romanians and 58,000 Bulgarians.
Arrivals on that scale would blow a
hole in ministers' efforts to cut net migration to tens of thousands by
the end of the Parliament.
Sir Andrew Green, MigrationWatch UK chairman,
said: 'This is a stunning survey, which the BBC has rather desperately
tried to play down. The percentages look small, but when multiplied by
the size of the workforce they produce large numbers.'
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: 'The
BBC has concocted their astonishing 'nothing-to-see-here' headlines out
of a series of follow-up questions. If you convert their stated
percentages into real figures, the story is a good deal more shocking
than the BBC's headlines suggest.
'The BBC is engaging, with its headlining of this story, not in reporting the facts, but in influencing the debate.'
Tory MP Philip Hollobone accused the BBC of 'spinning' the results of the poll.
But a BBC spokesman said: 'We have
not spun these figures in any way. Our reporting is in line with our
usual editorial guidelines on polls, where it is important to give
audiences the details of sample size.
'We have been clear in our reporting that the surveys are a snapshot of opinion and that people's intentions may change.'