A group of influential business people from Britain held secretive talks with PM Tony Blair this summer to persuade him that they needed labor force from Romania and Bulgaria, for which authorities in London are considering restrictions to stave of labor migration once they join the EU on January 1 next year, British newspaper The Guardian reports.

The meeting took place at the residence of Roland Rudd, former Financial Times journalist turned PR mogul. Rudd is known as close to Peter Mandelson, the EU Trade Commissioner who once served as Blair’s aide.

Among the participants The Guardian notes Centrica head Roger Carr, Sainsbury president Philip Hampton and Boots’ Nigel Ruud, all clients of Rudd’s PR company. They were present at the meeting as representatives of the Business for New Europe (BNE) lobby group, established in March 2006.

BNE published an open letter to British authorities in August this year to call for the unconditional opening of British borders for Romanian and Bulgarian workers starting January 1, 2007, an opinion that came against the tabloid-fuel trend that restrictions should be imposed to prevent an overwhelming inflow of workers from the two countries.