"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Friday 6 December 2013

Britain fails to renegotiate EU free movement rules

Home Secretary Theresa May’s proposals to place greater restrictions on free movement in the EU were dismissed by the European Commission on Thursday.

At the Brussels meeting of EU ministers, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding attacked the UK’s welfare system, saying it was “too generous” and “any abuse of benefits by EU migrants is the fault of the British authorities.”

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding attacked the UK’s welfare system
Last week May suggested a cap on numbers if immigration crosses a certain threshold and proposed new member states reach a certain level of economic output or income per head before full free movement rights are permitted.

“We must be able to slow full access to each other’s labour markets until we can be sure it will not lead to mass migration,” said May.

The Netherlands, Germany and Italy have shown some support for free movement reform.

The meeting follows the announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron of plans to limit EU nationals’ access to benefits in the UK, a move which may turn out to be unlawful under EU law.

Among the limitations on the availability of benefits to EU migrants proposed by Cameron are no unemployment benefits for the first three months, no housing benefits on arrival and no benefits after six months.

Reding said the changes will be monitored in Brussels and challenged legally should they break European law.

“Our EU rules are good and they are here to stay. Member states need to apply them to tackle abuse,” said Reding.

The European Commission is expected to release a report on free movement abuse during the two-day meeting which is scheduled to end today.

The proposals come ahead of the removal of labour market restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers in the UK in January 2014.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal the biggest rise in immigration in the year preceding June 2013 was migrants from EU nations. 

October saw the publication of a European Commission report which claims less than 38,000 EU migrants claimed Jobseeker's Allowance in the UK in 2012 and unemployed migrants made up just 1.2 per cent of the total population.

Free movement is a fundamental principal of the EU and one which is closely tied to trade and economic integration. Eurostat data says there were 2.3 million EU citizens in the UK and 2.2 million UK citizens in other EU countries in 2012.

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