Jack Straw terms opening door to Eastern Europe migrants as wrong move

BLACKBURN: Jack Straw, a former Home Secretary and senior leader of Opposition Labour Party, criticized the decision of his own government in 2004 to open door to Eastern Europe migrants as wrong, saying that this was a very bad and irreasonalbe decision of Labour Government.
Jack Straw said handing immediate working rights to Poles and others when they joined the EU nine years ago was a well-intentioned policy we messed up.
In his article Straw said the policy was based on predictions about future trends which turned out to be wrong. The move to lift the transitional restrictions on the eastern European states like Poland and Hungary which joined the EU in mid-2004, was a planned move. Other existing EU members, notably France and Germany, decided to stick to the general rule which prevented migrants from these new states from working until 2011.
He said that the government at the time relied on research suggesting 13,000 migrants a year would arrive. But the influx was much larger than expected and contributed to net migration rising above 200,000 a year. Unlike France and Germany, which did not give migrants from the ten countries which joined the EU in May 2004 full access to their labour market until 2011, the then Labour government did not insist on any transitional controls.
Earlier this year, the economist whose research provided the basis of the Home Office’s calculations accused MPs of misinterpreting his figures.
Jack Straw point of view came after his successor at the Home Office, David Blunkett, has voiced his concerns and showing tensions between local people in Sheffield and Roma migrants could lead to riots, unless more action is taken to improve integration.
Blunkett said that Roma groups from Slovakia who had settled in a district of the city were behaving like they were living in a downtrodden village or woodland. “Many of them don’t even live in areas where there are toilets or refuse collection facilities,” he said.
The incomers had to “adhere to our standards and to our way of behaving” and, if they did so, would be welcomed, Mr Blunkett argued. They have got to change the behaviour and the culture of the incoming community, the Roma community, because there’s going to be an explosion otherwise. We all know that. But he also stressed the need for members of the local community, who were venting their anger to get involved in efforts to improve integration.
The UK Independence Party has long criticised Labour for failing to anticipate the number of people from eastern Europe who would seek work in the UK and its impact on opportunities for British workers.
The party has warned of similar problems when transitional controls on Bulgarian and Romanian workers – put in place when the two countries joined the EU in 2007 – expire at the end of the year. Claims by UKIP that millions could flock to the UK have been attacked as scaremongering.