UKIP leader Nigel Farage has taken out a full-page advert in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper in an attempt to clarify his comments over the Romanian immigrants story that the media and politicians have latched onto this weekend.
Farage writes: “My recent, widely reported comment that people would be concerned if a group of Romanian men moved in next door to their house has caused a predictable storm of protest and accusations of racism.
“Let me be clear – UKIP is not a racist party, and our immigration policy, far from being racist, aims to end discrimination against non-Europeans. The vast majority of Romanians who have come to the UK wish to better their lives and would make good neighbours.
“But there is a real problem, an unpalatable truth that our political class would rather not discuss. Since the welcome fall of Communism and the awful dictator Ceausescu, Romania has struggled to complete a full transition to western democracy.
“When I visited the country I was truly shocked by the living conditions and social exclusion of a large Roma minority. It is difficult to believe that such discrimination still exists in Europe today.”
He also says that Romania has a “huge problem” with organised gangs, who, thanks to EU citizenship rules, are free to move around Europe and come to Britain. He says there is nothing Britain can do to stop such people entering the country.
He goes on to quote statistics from London’s Metropolitan Police saying that 92 percent of all ATM crime in London is committed by Romanians, and last year 28,000 Romanians were arrested by the London police force.
He adds that 240 Romanian gangs caused seven percent of all crime across the European Union.
He concludes: “We should not be in a political union with Romania, with an open door to all of their citizens. We must take back the power to stop criminals from entering our country by taking back control of our borders. The only way to do that is to leave the EU.
“Then we can give Romanians who want to come to the UK work permits and do necessary checks. When this happens my answer to the question, ‘Should people be concerned if a group of Romanian men moved in next door?’ will be ‘No’.
“It is not racist to want to stop organised criminal gangs undermining our way of life – it is common sense.”