UK Government Vows to Put End of Benefit TourismBulgaria in EU | March 4, 2013, Monday // 12:03| views
UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, William Hague. Photo by EPA/BGNES
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has declared that "benefit tourism" must end.
Ahead of the lifting of work restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians, Hague told the BBC people should not be attracted to the UK just by the benefits available.
He said ministers wanted to remove "artificial, perverse incentives".
Hague added that the government had no "magic" figure about how many Romanians and Bulgarians might move to the UK when controls expire in 2014.
"I don't think anybody can give you an accurate forecast, because a fundamental principle of the European Union is the free movement of people, and British people benefit enormously from that," he said.
January 1, 2014, is the expiration date of the seven-year transition period after Bulgaria and Romania's EU accession, in which the other EU member states could limit Bulgarians and Romanians' access to their labor markets.
Controversial claims have been made by a number of British tabloids and politicians that the UK should brace for a massive"influx" of Bulgarian and Romanian migrants after the end of 2013.
The official stance of the UK government is that the labor restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians will be lifted from January 1, 2014.