Don't discriminate says Romania PM
Romania's prime minister has called on Britain not to treat Romanians as "second-rate citizens" when work restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian workers are lifted on January 1.
Prime Minister David Cameron has announced measures to toughen welfare rules for migrants from the European Union amid rising concern that migrants from Romania and Bulgaria would exploit the welfare system.
Cameron says one million people from Central and East Europe are living in Britain with migration at a level not seen since wartime.
In a statement released late Friday, Victor Ponta said people should be punished for abusing Britain's welfare system, but restrictions should not be used to "generate or justify abuse or discrimination toward European citizens".
"We will not accept being treated as second-rate citizens," Ponta said, adding that research showed "there is no reason for concern regarding a migrant wave" from Romania to Britain.
Millions of Romanians had already chosen to work abroad in "southern Latin states", referring to Spain and Italy which have a Latin-based language like Romanian.
He said he hoped Cameron was not trying "to attack the fundamental principles of the EU, among which the freedom of movement is one of the most important values".
Mr Cameron's comments were criticised on Wednesday by European employment commissioner Laszlo Andor as an "unfortunate over-reaction",