Our people have an improving economy at home. They don't need to come to Britain
The very day after Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Prince Charles slipped away to Romania for a bit of peace and quiet and for a traditional organic meal in a secluded village where he owns a house. Romania can't be that bad, can it?
I was fortunate enough to hear his view on our country, his admiration and his belief in our future development. And this is one of the reasons why, I must confess, I was rather perplexed by the recent uproar in the British media regarding the imminent Romanian "invasion" of the UK. Because there will be no such thing - and because Romania really is not something to fear.
After our 2007 EU accession, about three million Romanians gradually left the country to work abroad. This wave has already ended. In spite of the impact of the economic crisis, the number of people looking for work abroad has steadily decreased. Countries that, like Romania, speak a Latin-origin language were by far the most inspiring destination - consequently, the most thriving Romanian immigrant communities are found in Spain, in Italy and even in France. If the immigration process continues, which is highly unlikely, it will definitely not focus on the UK.
As Prime Minister, one of my greatest ambitions is for Romania to cease to be an emigration country. I have already set in motion a series of policies aimed at stimulating growth and strengthening the economy. While Romania has been severely affected by the economic crisis, the last year has started to show the first signs of improvement.
Unemployment is currently below the EU average and public sector wages have risen, returning to their 2010 pre-austerity level. Romania has proved to be "the European champion" of fiscal adjustment: in almost nine months the public deficit has decreased from 5.5 per cent of GDP to 2.8 per cent.
Social measures are being put in place - and will be supplemented in the near future - to build stronger support systems for the most vulnerable members of our society. Care for the weak, impetus for the economy, attracting investors, exploiting our best opportunities - this is my plan. And a huge part of it is stopping people leaving Romania and seeking work in other countries.
We are planning essential infrastructure projects, both transport (highways and roads) and environmental (municipal water systems, waste management), which will boost Romania's living standards in the short and medium term, putting EU funds to work. We are looking at rapidly boosting certain fields, playing to our strengths: organic agriculture, where we plan to become a major EU player; energy, where we will push for the development of renewables to an even higher degree than now; waste management and recycling, where we are turning a huge shortcoming into an advantage by creating jobs in an expanding sector; research, where we are building the strongest laser in the world - the ELI. Romania has huge resources for success: some of them come from our current weaknesses.
Our people are, by far, our most valuable, cherished and significant resource. And we will do our utmost to keep them in the country. For all the work that is to be done in this country we need every brain and every pair of hands available. This is why Britain can rest assured: Romania needs its workers. They will not rush to Britain, come January 1, 2014. They will be busy developing their own country.
Meanwhile, we would be very happy to welcome British people here, be it for a holiday in the sleepy villages that Prince Charles loves so much, for a strong pint in the Old Town in Bucharest, for a tour of our atmospheric towns such as Sibiu, Sighisoara or Brasov, for a trip to the Danube delta or for a seaside adventure.