Amid rising Euroscepticism, Romanians build new lives in Britain

Tue May 13, 2014 4:01am EDT
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By Luiza Ilie

LONDON/ABRUD Romania (Reuters) - Adriana Berindei ran out of patience with her small Romanian hometown of Abrud when she tried and failed for the 16th time to get tenure at the local school where she taught.

So she hung up her two undergraduate degrees and two masters in political science and modern history and moved to Britain to work first as a childminder and then a cleaner.

Though she lives with her boyfriend in a crowded house with other migrants and was hesitant to tell her parents she worked as a cleaner, Berindei says life in London has given her peace of mind. She plans to start a small business and dreams of buying a house with her partner.

"I was cleaning a sink one day and I thought, if only my mother could see me now," said Berindei, a petite 39-year-old who took to London right away. "Sixteen years of torment was enough for me."

Immigration has become a hot topic in Europe as the continent recovers slowly from years of economic hardship.

Anti-EU parties are likely to score strongly in elections to the European Union parliament next week, many demanding that borders be shut to new migrants or numbers be strictly rationed.

Yet EU rules mean people are free to move from the poorer east to the richer west of the bloc and thousands of people from Africa and Asia continue to risk perilous routes across the Mediterranean.

Reuters visited Abrud to better understand what prompted Berindei and millions like her to leave.   Continued...

A child lights a candle to the deceased during a Saint John and Saint Alban the Protomartyr Romanian Orthodox service, at a church in Luton, southern England March 17, 2014.     REUTERS/Luke MacGregor