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Thursday, March 20, 2014

EU migrants' access to benefits: A cross-party concern in Denmark

We flagged up last week that the debate on EU migrants' access to benefits was kicking off in Denmark - potentially leading to a row with the European Commission.

New figures have been unveiled that will do little to assuage political tensions. According to the Danish Employment Ministry, government spending on unemployment benefits to migrants from Eastern and Central Europe has increased tenfold between 2008 and 2012 – from DKK 32 million to DKK 345 million.

The data prompted criticism from across the political spectrum - confirming that EU migrants' access to state welfare is very much a cross-party issue in Denmark.

Claus Hjort Frederiksen, a former centre-right Danish Finance Minister, commented
We need to discuss what kind of protection we're able to offer in these cases. It's not a problem that will disappear.
Nadeem Farooq, the spokesman of the governing centre-left Social Liberal Party, warned:
The figure has risen quite dramatically, so we must take it seriously. We cherish freedom of movement, which makes Denmark wealthier. But we're also prepared to introduce controls and the necessary safeguards.
Interestingly, a proposal by the left-wing opposition Red–Green Alliance to make sure that EU citizens also pay Danish social insurance contributions in order to create "a level-playing field to qualify for unemployment benefits" is being supported by the anti-immigration Danish People's Party.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has announced that it will take legal action against Finland, which has a similar welfare system to Denmark and will therefore be backed by the Danish government in the legal challenge. The Commission has said it hasn't yet had time to look properly at how the Danish system currently works and what is being proposed (check out our previous blog for more detail), but informally it has said that the newly proposed measures look "illogical".

This looks set to run and run...


Jesper said...

My guess would be that neither Finland nor Denmark had any intention of changing their social security system when signing the relevant treaty. Nor did they have any intention to ignore the treaty. So why has it come to this?

I think we're now seeing the danger of not reading and/or not understanding a contract before signing it...
Should be common sense but then again common sense isn't very common.

Two more countries for reform of the treaties?

Anonymous said...

Jesper, those who signed it understood it very well.
The sheeple didn't. Well, it's a bit too late to ncomplain now.

This circus will go on as long as the sheeple think they're still getting more out of the system than they are paying in.
And then it'll stop and fall apart in most spectacular manner. Can't wait for that to happen!

Anonymous said...

The basic idea of "freedom of movement" was so woolly that it has become the problem that it is today, clearly when there were only 6 nations with similar economies, at the time, it wasn't a problem, however as more nations joined and the economies went their various ways the problem of unemployed people in one nation seeing the unemployed in another getting something they weren't has lead to mass uncontrolled migration from poor countries to the richer, for now, ones.

It is an idea that has gone spectacularly wrong and needs to be revoked, but as the eussr illegally imposed the constitution on to us, that is not an option for any nation without invoking clause 50, something that politicians for reasons only known to themselves seem unwilling to do on behalf of their citizens.

Jesper said...


If a politician believes he/she can get away with a lie to cover an inconvenient truth then I fully expect him/her to lie.

If the opposition and/or the free press had asked the tough questions then it would not have been possible to get away with things that we now know are lies.

It doesn't matter much if the politicians in control at the time did it out of ignorance/incompetence or if they lied.

The guilt is shared by both the ones who happened to be in charge at the time and the ones whose duty it was to question the people in charge. Electorates in many countries have therefore chosen to support neither of them and that is why we see so many new political parties in Europe.

It is both amusing and sad to hear 'intellectuals' claim that the failure of the established political parties is that they didn't challenge the views of the electorate.
It is more likely that the failure is that the established political parties didn't challenge each other when it came to matters like the EU (and a few additional matters).

Rik said...

1 Amounts are not very relevant. 345 mn or 87 Tn simply both translate into too much or a lot in neutral term for many.
Often extreme media examples do a better job. The covered with tattoos, never worked a day in his life, 7 children by 9 different women and having 8 pittbulls kind for locals. For immigrants hate-imans not speaking a word local, with 4 wives with a big beard and pyjamas, never having had a job in the West, usually do the job.
(Amounts/figures are relevant for some target groups and often for workable solutions.)
And a lot of stories on top of that. Every month an extreme media-story works much better for the non-intellectual group than all stats in the world.
They also give a rational voice to groups that are not able to come up with nicely formulated argumentation. But are completely useless for others.

People like traditional parties simply seem not to grasp this. And guys like OE seem to have a tendency to move back to their peers as reference as well.
That is why market research was invented. Yourself are often completely useless as standard for things.

At the end of the day you will need both the rationals and the emotionals to get the job reform done. To give it enough electoral push. One has to find a way to adress both of these very differnt groups and have them push into the same direction.

Rik said...

2. Please bear in mind that one of the problems of traditional politics and the EU as well is that as large groups go, their brandvalue have become simply negative.
Which simply means that very unlikely it will be restored again. It is for a reason that standard procedure in business is that events should be projected asap as isolated cases and as something that is asap strongly reacted upon with the asap culpits punished (when media still pay attention to it).
It works the same in politics (works the same everywhere in fact).
Just look at Italian cars. Too many times people were told that they are reliable and donot rust. And too many times they got disappointed. Result nobody is buying them anymore. Basically traditional parties and the EU are the political equivalent of Alfa Romeos and Co.
After things have been destroyed however it becomes nearly impossible to restore it again. Also partly/largely rational people have put the thing on their 'no go' list. One unsatisfied really p!$$d off customer usually makes you lose 7 customers. By way of negative 'mouth to mouth'.
Looking around now you have enough people so negative that they can become the basis of a customer loss that is several times the electorate. Another reason why things are basically completely F-ed. Probably the reason why the EU is now associated by many with a lot of negativity. Every time they think EU they see the image of their neighbour complaining or wanting him to vote IP before him.

So for the EU it probably needs a complete rebranding. The Jobs style not by going over some academic checklist. And definitely not by having some different policies it is simply too late for that.
But really reestablishing that the relation are worthwhile. Not only in pure simple economic terms but in the way the customer voter sees things. Doesnot need a rocketscientist to understand that won't be happening. Schultz and Reding as the new faces of the revitalised EU-brand, too ridiculous for words.

It is now for a lot of people that the thing itself is unpalatable. Not individual policies. These are mainly used to give a pseudo-rational foundation for the antipathy against the thing/brand itsef.
Trend approval and brandvalue as said often going South.
It is all in degree of course. But at the end of the day this is why a lot of basically rational people like some on this blog are anti-EU whatever is brought against that. It simply will not work.
And in between this group and the people who still like the EU brand there are numerous groups all with different degrees of disenfranchisedness.

Same thing btw for traditional politics locally.

The trick is having them push politically into the same direction as you do. Without having to publicly associate yourself with the weirdo (and partly also fruitcake) elements in there.
Or translate (for traditional political parties) to make the 'populist views your own and probably translate them to something that is more digestible for other voters. Basically what Cameron is trying to do with the reneg. Probably the best example how it could be done with as the polls show getting an electoral platform for it (so basically successfully), where it not for the loose fruitcakie guns in his own party.

Rik said...

Nobody (at least not the non-fruitcake type) likes Wilders. But he is a relevant feature of the modern day political landscape.
And probably the trendsetter for a lot of the things we see happening these days. Simply a blueprint for a rightish populsit party as well as for the new way of (oneline) communication.
The mirror image for what is wrong in today's politics and effectively society as a whole. Cobining all what is wrong in traditional politics (and there is a lot of that with all what is wrong in society at the moment.
The only positives are imho that he put things on the agenda that should have been there years ago and forces traditional parties to reform themselves (although that process goes very slowly).

However this doesnot makes things less unreal.

In that respect I wonder if your summary in your daily newsbriefing is caused by simply only looking at a small part of the picture or simply mixing up facts how these are and what you want them to be.
He lost percentage wise clearly. But in nearly all other aspects it looks like a positive to him.
Largely it was caused by increased support for local parties for instance. And several other things which are imho basically irrelevant as well btw.
While for the present governmental parties effectively it was an all over the place and substantial negative. Simply confirms that popular support has dropped to roughly half compared to the present parliament.

Simply the impression you get from your briefing is however completely different.

What is relevant is that this is further confirmation that the polls as presented in Peil look pretty much to represent the mood at the moment in Holland. Differences can be explained largely by compensating for lower turn out, different effect thereof for different parties and local parties being involved and Wilders not being involved in 95% of the country. Only Dutch Labour in Peil seem a few seats too low.
basically it gives an oppotunity to tune the polls that were all over the place like in the UK with reality.
Ipsos seems to have itself made into a complete joke, wet fingers seem more accurate than Ipsos polls (10 sigma mistakes is simply beyond crap).

It are the national polls (polls re general electionse that do the trick re electoral pressure and as said they are butchering the 2 governmental parties.
They are hardly Euro-friendly to say the least.

The rise of D66 seems another indication that Rutte is close to being history. Basically these have the policies now that Rutte is against his promises is now pursuing. Still more right VVD voters rather vote for D66 (a lot of the gains come from there). Simply means Rutte's credibility/trustworthyness has been broken . In other words Cameron should not only focus on this bunch. They are likley to become irrelevant in possibly even the very near future.

This was clearly not a Euro-neutral event as one might think from your newsbrief. Seen the rise of the locals and of the SP for instance it simply looks mainly EU negative.
The communal elections last time where in a peak Wilders time. Now it seems that the support is more stable and as said roughly at the same level (compensating for the rise of local parties).

Hard to see massive tactical voting in a next general election. Last time people did that for non-EU reasons btw but that is seen now as a complete disaster by nearly all who did.
All points into the direction that Peil.nl poll indicate (with 2 or 3 seat more for Dutch Labour). Which would compared to last general election by a disaster for the pro-EU front. Hardly possible to get any majority at all for a new government without some support of some EU sceptics. And a lot of extra pressure on the kettle anyway.

Anonymous said...

Seems being swivel eyed allows you see outside the box whilst the fixed eyed have a very narrow viewpoint.

christhai said...

It is past time for the nations of the territory of Europe agree to disband the EU Commission totally.

This expensive, bunch of corrupt jumped up clerks posing as High Princes must lose the immunity from prosecution they granted themselves and face Justice.

All the silly trappings of this evil organisation must go ,the ECB as soon as the euro has been consigned to the financial dustbin, the ECB.

Let us start afresh with a Friendly, non-political group with no POWER other than to advise.

The EU is a disaster in every way.