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Thursday, June 13, 2013

A pan-European desire to clarify rules on free movement and access to welfare?

To some, the Commission's decision, two weeks ago, to take the UK to the ECJ over its rules on EU migrants' access to welfare was further evidence of an 'isolated' UK. However, there are a whole host of other countries concerned and eager to discuss the issue.

At last week’s meeting of EU Home Affairs Ministers, it was agreed to look at the concerns raised by the UK, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands on this very issue.

But it is not simply the wealthier member states (that are the main destinations for intra-EU migration) that want this deeply sensitive debate around access to welfare to be clarified. Yesterday, Dutch Foreign Minister Frank Timmermans and his Polish counterpart Radosław Sikorski, discussed this very issue. Here is what Timmermans said on the matter:
“The Netherlands strongly believes that the free movement of people is one of the fundamental matters of the EU…We are not talking about restricting this freedom but we believe that a discussion is necessary on whether this freedom should entail full access to the social security systems of member states.” 
This is what Sikorski said during his subsequent speech at Leiden University:
“I tell you frankly, we will veto any attempt to compromise on one of these four freedoms of the single market. But this not to say that the member states should not be able to regulate their social provisions. You are a richer country then we are, so you have more generous unemployment benefits... if you have gaps in your social security system, you are free to plug them”.
Both countries (the host and sending state) have an interest in ensuring that the rules governing access to welfare are clear and transparent and not open to abuse. As we've argued, this could help to restore public confidence in free movement.

And all the more reason for the Commission to sit up and listen to national governments rather than taking them to court!


Rik said...

To have substantial (not the OBaMa variety)change probably the EU has to drive into a wall.

The treaty will have to be renegotiated anyway(because of the Euro mainly), but if everything will be possible within the 2017 timeframe is a bit doubtful. And it looks to have much more potential anyway when it is an overall revision and not a 'special' for the UK.

Nothing works simply better than a shock event in that respect. And in another country than the UK would be even better. Makes blocking thing much easier.

And 2017 looks already very, very long seen from the national UK perspective. Irritations come up regularly, Cameron is hardly brilliant in managing the relation with the 'referendum now crowd' and the inventory simply takes way too long.

In this respect Malstrom is basically the ideal opponent (how disconnected from the real world can you get?) and immigration the ideal file. Everywhere there are mass irritations over this issue and it is an issue people (and a lot of them) base their choice of political party on.

Malstrom is the example of the leftish, academic, save the world, know everything better type of which a considerable majority of Europe are simply totally fed up with. Basically a group that has probably at the moment less supporters than people that start to puke when they only see a picture of one of them. Just look around at all the left parties (Socialist/Social Democratic they call it themselves) in Europe. All these types have been replaced or otherwise rebranded. You only see them still with the Greens and similar.
Look at any Northern populist parties and that is their target.

Ideal target for a party like AfD with a bit (well more than a bit) dull 'faces'. Just throw some bait and she will give you a headline and basically a free commercial. And whatever the outcome of the discussion (immigration discussion always end nowhere anyway) you will have a media event. And there is no better commercial for a new populist party than somebody the potential electorate thereof despite saying something negative about it.
Simply a no win situation for them. They look like a complete fool for their own backers if they start to talk reasonable and not go in full throttle. But will not gain one vote if they do what is expected, only look weak when they don't.
A reaction is expected by their backers and anyway they are so shocked in their way of thinking that they instinctively go for the hard approach.
But if they do they give free publicity to the populists. In the media and focussed as well(but not on purpose) on the populist target audience.

Immigration is probably with the economy THE issue at the moment. And becuase of Bulgaria and Co fully connected witht he EU. And people seen the massive move to populist parties determine the way they vote on that issue. In a lot of countries also the left have adjusted their policies (in order not to be butchred in the ballot box. But the EU with Malstrom still is 'old skool'.

In other words summarised an ideal file to let the EU ran itself into a wall. And get a better reneg result as a consequence thereof.

Anonymous said...

It would seem to be the perfect argument to have in the ECJ who runs a nation, the democratically elected government of that country, or the unelected democratically deficient political failures of the commission?

Whatever the outcome it can only boost the end of the eussr and that can not come soon enough.

sammy said...

the 'referendum now crowd' - sounds like the usual derogatory remark made by the 'get stuck in the EU forever' crowd.
Britain has had enough of immigrants, especially as our laws now give them more rights than the British have -go to Germany and see if they will change their laws for a minority of blow-ins.
The British welfare state is a big attraction, as is free health care and education. When ATOS (French) and the DWP are killing our own people with such casual indifference, why would any right minded person in Britain be happy about immigrants automatic entitlement to any welfare payments or free health care - if immigrants have not paid in they should not be allowed to receive.
Members of common wealth countries who marry British and work here have many restrictions put on them -they cannot just walk in and claim everything or even very much actually and they, in a roundabout way, have a much closer connection to Britain (until the EU gets rid of that as well).
Good luck to UKIP.
The money we save getting out of the stinking EU will provide much needed funds and work for our own people.
Europe is wonderful, the EU is not.
What we hate is the EU dictating rules and laws that most other EU countries ignore or make sure they are exempt from.
You cannot walk into most EU countries and claim welfare.
Please remember that people are still entitled to their own opinion, we get very tired of the hateful, snide comments from the pro-Europe crowd, but as has been proven, those comments help UKIP a great deal - bring them on!!

Jesper said...

What is currently not discussed in public in Sweden is how to handle tourists such as these:

Liberals used to be willing to allow for and even encourage discussions, however, now it seems that liberals have decided what is right and will not tolerate any discussion that might change their (closed) minds.

The world has changed, laws and in some cases even law enforcement need to change as the world has changed.

Free movement is generally good, if and only if, laws are changed to reflect the new reality.

The quote from Sikorski:
"But this not to say that the member states should not be able to regulate their social provisions."
is better without the double negation:
"But this to say that the member states should be able to regulate their social provisions."