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Romanian consul is to be established in the West Country

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 01, 2014

By Tristan Cork

Comments (1)

tristan.cork@b-nm.co.uk

A Romanian consul is to be established in the West Country for the first time, as the Romanian embassy admits it has 'no idea' how many of its nationals are set to travel to this country when immigration controls are eased today.

The man appointed to run the consulate in Bristol to help Romanians living in the West said his appointment had nothing to do with the relaxation of border controls to the residents of the most recent countries to join the EU, Romania and Bulgaria.

Razvan Constantinescu, an adopted Bristolian who has taken up an honorary post as his nation's consul in the South West, said he was sure there would not be 'a flood' of his countrymen heading to Britain that some politicians have warned about.

Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU seven years ago, but as part of the deal to let them into the Union, their residents were restricted in being able to work in Britain, along with eight other EU countries.

Those restrictions are now being lifted for 2014, and some on the Tory right, as well as Ukip, have warned of growing numbers of Romanians travelling to Britain.

Mr Constantinescu said he thought the numbers in the South West might actually drop.

"It is really difficult to see how Romanians are going to react," he said. "I doubt there will be the sort of invasion that some of the press is referring to.

"Most people in Romania who really want to move here, already have.

"I wouldn't be surprised, given the eight other countries changing, if people who might be struggling economically would prefer to move to Italy or France for example."

There are currently about 1,000 Romanians living in Bristol. He added: "We could even see the number of Romanians here dropping. We just don't know."

Mr Constantinescu came to Britain more than 20 years ago as a political refugee, escaping the notorious Securitate secret police of communist Romania.

He settled in the South East and then London, obtaining a doctorate in sociology before moving to Bristol, where he held a role as human trafficking officer at the council.

"My vision was that I wanted to contribute as much as possible to repay the generosity that the country had given me when I arrived.

"I wanted to find a way to say thank you for being welcomed here," he said.

He said his appointment to the first consulate was more to do with forging better business links between Bristol and the West and Romania.

A spokeswoman for the Romanian embassy said: "Honorary consulate is a general practice around the world and the reasons behind opening such an office are different.

"Usually Romania has opened honorary consulates in areas with economic and cultural potential for the promotion of bilateral relations between Britain and Romania or in areas with a significant Romanian community.

"Bristol represents, from an economic point of view, a potential partner so an honorary consul was considered to be a step forward for the development of such relations. Moreover, in Bristol there is a community of approximately 1,000 Romanians," she added.

She said the embassy would consider opening more honorary consulates if needed, and added: "The appointment of Mr Constantinescu as honorary consul in Bristol is a coincidence and does not have anything to do with the lifting of restrictions.

"The appointment procedure started one year ago and it was completed this month," she added.

Mr. Constantinescu said he wanted to use his consul position to help establish direct flights from Bristol to Romania and improve business links.

He will act as an official representative of the Romanian Government to facilitate trade and relations between the Eastern European country and the UK.

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  • eurosceptic  |  January 01 2014, 11:20AM

    We didn't vote for this; we only voted to join a Common Market. The LibLabCons have colectively betrayed us. Vote UKIP and send them a message. Referendum NOW! I mean NOW! Not tomorrow, not the next day, we need it NOW!

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