Thursday, December 12, 2013


There has been a lot in the media about the impending opening up of migration rules which would allow Bulgarian and Romanian citizens to freely move around the EU. Clearly as I am married to a Pole I have a certain bias. Indeed I think the migration Policy has been correct in terms of Europe. The UK economy has benefited from the influx of hardworking and cheap labour.

In Geography class they used to teach about push and pull factors in migration. When Poland joined the expanded EU in 2004, the UK had been very positive supporting Polish entry and not putting up barriers as some European countries had done. For Bulgaria and Romania the UK did put in restrictions, even going so far as to use negative adverts.

A lot of people think take issue with the sheer number of Polish people who came to the UK after the 2004 expansion of the EU. There was also a long history of Poles migrating to the UK. Not least after the settlement act following the second world war. Given The UK twice let down Poland, in World War 2, firstly by failing to do anything practically to stop the Soviet Union and Germany carving up Poland, then at the end of the war the Yalta treaty allowed the Soviet union to keep Poland under communist rule. Rather than delivering the free democratic state the exiled Polish government had hoped for.

One thing I haven't seen much of is the raw numbers. In terms of population Romania at 21 million and Bulgaria 7 million people. In 2004 Poland's population was approximately 38 million people. So even if the same proportion of Romanian and Bulgarians moved to the UK as did Poles, in terms of numbers there would be far less actual people. Thanks to the lower combined population.

Therefore in terms of simple push and pull there are less cultural ties between the UK Bulgaria and Romania less pull factors in terms of our failing economy, so right now I don't expect to see as many Romanian  shops as Polski Skleps.