Alexandru Petrescu on the community engagement event between the Romanian community in London and Ken Livingstone:
On 15 February at the Labour Party HQ Victoria St, Ken Livingstone, the Labour Party candidate for the London Mayoral Office met representatives of the Romanian community in London.
The event, organised by the Labour Party and the Romanian Social Democratic Party, UK branch, is part of a long term joint political venture agreed between the two organisations, committed to working together for better integration and a higher degree of social and economic inclusion for Romanians living in the UK. The joint action is focused, at a central level, on ensuring the support of Westminster politicians and at a regional level, on working with the communities and the local Labour administration in all the London boroughs and across the country.
Romanian residents in London are raising an ethnic community agenda but are also concerned with issues relating the city, as any other Londoner, outlining a list of items for discussion from housing to safer neighbourhoods and the increase in public transport fares.
Representatives on the ‘Romanians in London’ panel were from a wide variety of professional and social backgrounds: from academia, student associations, the business community and immigration & employment law firms to the Romanian Orthodox Parish in London.
Ciprian Bolos, vice-president of the Romanian Social Democratic Party in the UK: “We are committed to sustaining a dialogue with Ken Livingstone’s campaign team, to support the exchange of ideas and project proposals. We hope that his re-election in May 2012 will be a continuation of today’s dialogue and the beginning of the translation of today’s projects into a reality.”
The conclusion of the round table reflected the determination of both parties to deliver tangible benefits to the Romanian community in London, with projects ranging from establishing community centres to organising high profile Romanian cultural events around London to increase awareness of Romanian culture and tradition.
Ken Livingstone: “I believe London is a great city in large part because it is a truly international city, both in the functioning of its economy and the diversity of its population. London’s international population links the city to economic and cultural developments in all corners of the world.
‘Each wave of migration to London has added to the capital’s prosperity. In recent years the Romanian community has become one of the latest to add to the capital’s cultural and economic strength. I am therefore delighted to have met with representatives of the community and to hear first hand their aspirations, concerns and issues.
‘If I am elected Mayor in May I will continue to work closely with the Romanian community in London, supporting the celebration of their cultural identity and working to address issues which affect Romanians in London from jobs to the cost of living to housing.”
Alexandru Petrescu, vice-president of the Romanian Social Democratic Party, Diaspora Organisation and president of the Romanian Social Democrats in the UK: “Today’s meeting with Ken culminated in a promise from our organisation to facilitate the dialogue between the Romanian community and the political decision makers of today and tomorrow. This was possible thanks to our partnership with the Labour Party and we shall continue to develop our projects at central and regional levels for the benefit of Romanians living in the UK. “
The Romanian Social Democratic Party, UK Branch is currently supporting Ken Livingstone’s campaign in a number of areas, from volunteers working at the Labour Party HQ to media support within the Romanian community, whilst maintaining an open dialogue between leaders of the community and Ken for the benefit of all Romanian residents in the UK