With the pressure that the current immigration discourse is putting on Romanians and Bulgarians living in the UK, it wouldn't be surprising if the girl with the beautiful high cheekbones didn't take my friend's question as a genuine invitation to talk a bit about herself and as an opportunity to learn something about him.
The reality is that in the case of Romanians 'benefit tourism' is a myth because from 5.7million working age benefit claimants in the UK last year, only 1,740 were Romanians, which represents 0.03% of the total claimants, or 1.45% of the Romanian community in Britain. To compare, the percentage of working age benefit claimants for the whole UK population is 9.5%.
Claudia, for example, a woman in her late 20s, was made to live in a small room with her husband, her three sons, her parents and her brother's family - all 11 of them, sharing a bathroom with 30 others. After more than three years of this mistreatment, no alternatives have been offered to their ghastly inadequate living conditions. Imagine if something similar was happening here in Britain. There would be outrage if a local council behaved this way. So it is not surprising that 23 senior religious leaders in the UK... have chosen to make a stand to defend the rights of these families who have been subject of discrimination in Romania.
The bitter winter of 2014 is passing and dogs have mysteriously disappeared leaving a river of blood and the evidence destroyed. Any tourist visiting should remember the haunting screams, the cries for help and the eventual cruel demise of these defenseless creatures. This is the dark secret of Craiova - The European Capital of Canine Cruelty.
Russia pulled off a major diplomatic coup in November by inducing Ukraine to abandon its proposed association agreement with the EU, the consequences of which are currently being played out on the streets of Kiev. But it would wrong to assume that Russia now calls all the shots in relations with its ex-Soviet neighbour...
I'm trying really hard to remember a time when we could go a whole week without having to have a national moan about "Europe"*. I mean I get it, I really do. All that great food, fantastic culture and nice weather. Not to mention Germany and France's positively infuriating collective predilection for paying people properly and according them proper employment rights.