A Romanian newspaper has struck back with its own take on the anti-immigration campaign the British government has reportedly planned to prevent an expected surge of newcomers to the U.K.
The newspaper Gandul launched a spoof campaign targeted at Britons on Friday under the tagline: “We may not like Britain, but you will love Romania.”
The campaign comes in response to reports that British government ministers are considering running a negative ad campaign that suggests to prospective immigrants that Britain’s streets aren’t necessarily “paved with gold,” as one government official told the Guardian. Quotas limiting the number of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants allowed to live and work unrestricted in Britain are due to expire in 2014, prompting fears that the U.K. will see a sudden surge of migrants from those countries.
In response, British officials reportedly considered launching a negative ad campaign to dissuade Romanians from crossing the English Channel. The plan, however, has met with mockery: the Guardian newspaper invited its readers to come up with their own spoof suggestions for what such a poster campaign would look like. Ideas invariably focused on the poor weather, lack of job opportunities and the U.K.’s ruling coalition as deterrents for any prospective immigrants.
In response, the Romanians have taken a more positive approach by offering reasons for Brits to visit Romania instead. Readers of Gandul were invited to post their own suggestions on its Facebook page, using the app Come to Romania.
“Charles Bought a House Here in 2005. And Harry Has Never Been Photographed Naked Once.”
“Our Draft Beer Is Less Expensive than Your Bottled Water.”
One of the more tongue-in-cheek suggestions was a poster saying:
“Half of Our Women Look like Kate. The Other Half, like Her Sister.”
Romania’s ambassador to Britain, Ion Jinga, told the Financial Times that he believed Romanians would not be tempted to move to Britain because of its sluggish economy and the fact that Romania was at “the beginning of an economic boom.” Romanian and Bulgarian members of the European Parliament also wrote to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in February in response to the reports about the British government’s rumored plans:
“We believe that a wave of hostile statements since the beginning of the year aims to stigmatise these citizens as second-class Europeans who pose a threat to the social systems just because they want to exercise their basic rights to free movement and work.”
Romanians appear keen to encourage this movement. Gandul has teamed up with advertising firm GMP and Webstyler to expand its campaign with a website, Why Don’t You Come Over? The site allows Brits to search for couches offered by ordinary Romanians and allows Romanians to advertise a welcoming couch on which “adventurous Brits” can crash.