Romania makes a significant financial contribution to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), the Eastern European country’s ambassador told a House of Lords committee on Monday (17 October). EURACTIV Romania reports.
Romania’s ambassador to the UK, Dan Mihalache, said that it is important that Romanian citizens in the UK do not experience any harassment, administrative or otherwise. He was speaking before the House of Lords justice committee, which has been set up to analyse the impact Brexit might have.
The committee is giving particular attention to the effect leaving the EU will have on foreign workers plying their trade in the country. It is scheduled to present its findings by the end of this year.
In terms of the NHS, Mihalache said that his country’s authorities spend upwards of €100,000 training a medical student to be a doctor. “That is our contribution to your NHS,” The Guardian reported him as saying. He added that at least 10,000 Romanians are currently employed by the UK’s health service.
Even though losing skilled workers is of concern to governments, like Romania’s, there are positives to citizens seeking employment abroad: Romania has recorded up to €7 billion being sent back to the country; even during the economic crisis, that figure see-sawed between €3 billion and €4 billion.
Mihalache called for the process of leaving the bloc to be carried out in a clear and predictable fashion, as uncertainty will only exacerbate social tensions; a situation that all parties are keen to avoid, given the spates of violence and xenophobia seen in the wake of the Brexit vote in June.
The ambassador noted that the principle of free movement and workers is a two-way street and that coming up with a solution that protects the rights of European citizens is in the interests of both sides.
The official number of Romanian nationals living in the UK is about 272,000 people.