Coffee House

The EU needs to limit free movement to stay together

27 November 2013

10:05 AM

27 November 2013

10:05 AM

David Cameron’s proposals on free movement recognise that the European Union is very different now from what it used to be. When it was essentially a club of rich Western European nations, total freedom of movement was workable. But now that it includes countries whose GDP per head is less than half ours it is not.

This is not a particularly Eurosceptic insight. As I reported back in February, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats were thinking of basing future transition controls on per capita GDP to prevent an unsustainable level of immigration.

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But what is true is that unless the freedom of movement issue is dealt with, it’ll be hard for any government to win a referendum to stay in. Nigel Farage already says that the out campaign he’d run would be mainly based around immigration. He’ll argue that without leaving the EU, this country won’t be able to stop huge numbers of people moving here every year.

The question is, though, how much can Cameron get out of any future renegotiation on this. I suspect that given concerns in other northern European countries about the issue, he’ll be able to get freedom of movement limited to freedom of workers and others who can support themselves. Whether this will be enough to reassure the public remains to be seen.

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Show comments
  • Agrippina

    By the time Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia & Turkey etc, join the EU. The whole project will be about ripe to collapse. It is never going to succeed, you can’t force people to live together. We should cut our losses and leave. We don’t want to be further ‘enriched’ we are the most densely populated. As for the Rom & Bulgie ambassadors all in a huff about their citizens, get on and help them give them decent housing, jobs etc, most importantly keep them in your countries.

    We need to concentrate on trade agreements and strike out alone, without the EU hampering us.

  • BoiledCabbage

    Its not benefits so much as the NHS, which will be overwhelmed. They lack the capacity to charge or say ‘no’ to anyone…..

  • BoiledCabbage

    The Eu referendum should be on the day after the Scotch indepenence vote.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Pissing about with benefit entitlements may impress the simple minded but it does not in anyway mitigate the gross dereliction of duty that this and previous governments have committed by abdicating their sovereign responsibility (they can give away sovereign powers but not their sovereign responsibility) for controlling our borders properly.

    Switzerland imposed quotas on all EU migration this year (the people voted for it – thats democracy at work), Now that is an immigration policy worth talking about instead of Cameron’s petty tinkering at the fringes.

  • dalai guevara

    Posturing, downright juvenile fascist posturing. A free market model only when it suits us? Nothing will come out of it unless we change our market model.
    And we won’t – party funding depends on it.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Free Market Model? What free market model? There are virtually no free markets and haven’t been for centuries. To pretend there are is either utterly dishonest or utterly delusional. In any case who wants a model that inevitably culminates in monopolies and cartels?

      • dalai guevara

        Oh, you finally give up?

  • swatnan

    The thing to bear in mind is that movement across borders is always 2 ways. For example nothing to stop the Brits from moving to Spain or Romania, and buying up cheap property and 2nd homes and living the life of riley, on the cheap, like latter day nabobs. Or young people moving to Holland and getting free University Education and making a life for themselves there; most of these countries are only an hr away from Luton Airport. So lets not be too hard on immigrants coming here to work, with every intention of getting enough money in 5 years to return aback to their homelands.

    • Makroon

      The most “visible” immigrants from Romania are the Roma, who are basically like a nomad tribe wandering about in a highly urban and crowded island. They would have no intention of “getting enough money in five years to return to their homeland” (where they live in ostracised ghettoes, despite the EU assuring us that human rights in those countries are now “up to acceptable west European standards”)
      I think the coalition hidden agenda is to dissuade them from coming to Britain, not the well-educated “strivers”.

    • McClane

      Oh, yes, and we do. Money goes a long way in BG and RO. You get a bigger house and more land. 10% income tax in BG, £2 for 20 kingsize. They leave for higher wages, we arrive for lower costs. You have interesting conversations on autobahn lay-bys.

    • rtj1211

      Given the dubious legal nature of property ownership in Spain, you’d better make damned sure you have a good, honest, Spanish property lawyer, or you could end up bankrupt. Ditto in Romania.

    • Colonel Mustard

      I don’t think anyone wants to be hard on the immigrants. They want to be hard on the politicians for being too stupid to realise that free movement between a country where the average wage is about £280 and where the unemployed and unemployable get almost nothing and a country where the average wage is £1,400 and the unemployed can get a free house and up to £30k of benefits is not a very good idea.

      That basic issue has been exacerbated by lax administration and the fact that many people who work as decision makers in the benefits system are Labour party activists with a vested interested in promoting their ideology. Their ethnic romanticism and self hatred means they usually go all starry eyed in the presence of a newly arrived immigrant but are often indifferent to the fate of a homeless elderly white British man.

      Too little too late. For over a decade all the main political parties have suppressed debate and concern about the rising tide of immigration so that people who speak out have immediately been branded as ‘racist’. Even last week the mention of the single word “immigration” was enough to get jeers and boos from the Labour activist lobby in the QT audience. Then there was the multi-culti thing imposed on us without consent. When Blair said in 1997 that “A new day has dawned has it not” he was absolutely right. Unfortunately nobody realised just what that would mean. It was left to the Daily Mail, of all things, to report its growing list of insanities so no surprise that they are now the Leftist Public Enemy No.1.

      And for those who bleat that there are plenty of Labour supporters also concerned about immigration then they still voted for a party that was not and which encouraged mass immigration in a totally reckless manner.

      • Daniel Maris

        Well said , I don’t blame them for taking the chance. But I do blame the politicians for allowing, year after year, mass immigration at the level of something like 500,000. And I blame DC saying he’s going to let in more Asians to staff curry houses! – why? Don’t we have UK citizens with the requisite skills?

    • Daniel Maris

      Not a question of being hard on immigrants. It’s a question of not putting up with bogus arguments. Take for instance your claim that it’s only because of the EU that Brits have been able to live in Spain. Robert Graves was living there in the 50s long before Spain joined the EU. UK citizens went to Dutch unis before the EU as well.

      • dalai guevara

        Yes, but in your book they would have been trespassing.

  • Makroon

    Ha-ha, remember when bluff old Sir John Major and his sidekick (or puppeteer) Hurd, were telling us of their cunning plan to expand the European Community to the east, and that all the new members would vote with Britain to trump the dastardly French ?
    Another fine mess …. or was the cunning plan always to dupe the public into accepting the dilution of British influence ?

    • Smithersjones2013

      were telling us of their cunning plan to expand the European Community
      to the east, and that all the new members would vote with Britain to
      trump the dastardly French ?

      You only have to watch the Eurovision Song Contest to work out how the EU politics work.

      Le Royaume-Uni ~ “Nil Points”

  • Bert3000

    So people who are prepared to get off their backsides and go and look for work are to be penalised to suit those who stay where they are and wait for everything to come to them? Stinks.

    • Max J

      Well if we didn’t have a benefits system that encourages the attitude you describe in people rather than acting as a safety-net, then we wouldn’t have a problem. But lets solve that problem before adding to it with uncontrolled numbers from poor countries, where people would be taking up the jobs our idle should be doing and claiming themselves in the future.

    • rtj1211

      The question to ask is whether you expect someone to bring up two kids with a wife living 16 to a house, or whether a society that relies on immigrant labour living 16 to a house is unsustainable, unethical and in meltdown.

      • Daniel Maris

        Quite right. It’s all three.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Fleas get off their backsides togo looking for hosts and so do human parasites. Ther’es nothing noble in that and in any event weare not obliged to provide the worlds ‘get-up-and-goers’ with a stable environment to ply their trade. Why deprive thier native lands of their talent?

      • Bert3000

        Why should we deprive hard working people (including my family, which is why it makes me really angry) of opportunities because you can’t be bothered?

        • Colonel Mustard

          Your wilful polarisation of this issue makes me really angry.

          • Bert3000

            The issue’s polarised. Some people want to take advantage of opportunities. Some people, wierdly, want opportunities taken away from everyone because they can’t be bothered to take advantage of them. It presumably makes them feel better about being useless bone idle scum. I don’t care how angry that makes you. You were already angry. I should get your ‘lady wife’ to pour another G&T.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              You’re conflating any of several issues. Nobody’s taking anything away from the foreigners, lad.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Polarised by nasty little bigots like you. And it is your final ad hominem that stinks but you are probably too thick to imagine why.

            • Hexhamgeezer

              You mean take advantage in the way a mugger takes advantage.

  • keith

    Cameron’s little speech today and the kind editing done by the BBC to string all his past promises on immigration ( what happened to those ) together shows that someone at CCHQ has been down the pub lately ( might be an aussie watching the cricket ), so what are the promises now, oh yes exactly what he said before and what will happen, you got it exactly what happened before, NOTHING, we cant deport foreign rapists, terrorists ( well not till its cost millions and ten years ) or any criminal come to that, so this clearly electoral ploy will come unravelled with-in a few days as amongst others his own attorney general will remind him we cant break EU law, we will get lots of hot air from tory MPs who say how strong Cameron is being taking on the EU, then when they have to admit they cant do anything we will here the tired old chestnut that’s why we need a referendum in 2017, no we need one now and all those spineless tory backbenchers who go on constantly about it but have not got the guts to actually do something, if they think its so fundamental why not resign their seats and force by-elections ( maybe the thought of losing all those lovely expenses they claim holds them back) otherwise they should just sit quietly and do what the whips say and read from the script we have heard it all before

    • HookesLaw

      Deporting criminals is nothing to do with the EU.
      And the plan fact is there will be a referendum in 2017 so what more is the point?

      • keith

        oh dear wondered when you would pop up with the usual drivel, i do take my hat of to you that you still believe that Cameron will be in power in 2017, and of course he has all ready said he will back the stay in campaign whatever the result of his so called negotiations, and sorry i must have missed the something on the deportation of foreign criminals, i would bring you to the judgement of Mr justice Blake, Britain’s most senior immigration judge who ruled that the home office was not allowed to deport a polish women who was convicted of manslaughter because her crime did not cross a serious threshold set out under EU law, under the EUs free movement rules the government can only deport EU citizens in exceptional circumstances, i hope that clears up the legal point for you

      • Colonel Mustard

        2017. Four years and a General Election hence. By which time how many immigrants and newly arrived Labour voters will be voting to stay in? And by which time Scotland could be a separate nation.

        • dalai guevara

          It is a separate nation, not a separate state.

          • Colonel Mustard

            None of your post-modern leftist manipulation of language to trickery please. You are quibbling (as well as stalking). You can dance nation, state and country on the head of a pin with the other angels.

            • dalai guevara

              Oh Colonel, you cannot dodge everything on here you know. You come across as someone valuing greatly a good level of detail and accuracy – in particular with regards to all aspects of nationhood. I will advise you to reconsider when I believe you are mistaken, otherwise we would be in serious danger of not understanding what on earth you are on about, wouldn’t we?

              Other supernatural beings of Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore will attempt to correct my spelling in return. Wowsers.

              • Colonel Mustard

                If I wanted to dodge it I need not have responded at all. You are obsessing about me again. Don’t presume that how “I come across” is how I am. That is your world not mine.

                As to Iraqi immigrants, Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore I have no idea what you are on about.

                Do you drink heavily, perchance, whilst commenting here?

                • dalai guevara

                  Colonel, two things,
                  1- ad homs do not “come across” in your favour at all. Me, heavily drinking? I am an athlete.
                  2- here my advice to you: when you do not understand something that is posted, try copying it and pasting it into the only search engine out there that works properly, or perhaps ask SIRI (I wouldn’t know the status of you combat equipment) – then see what happens. Just a thought…

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  Alternatively, you could try and communicate in clear, comprehensible English.

                • dalai guevara

                  No, you need metaphor and definitions training.
                  I am no desktop bureaucrat, you ought to have gathered that by now.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Oh dear poor Hooky. You really should stop trying to talk up Cameron’s whizzo wheezes. Nobody believes them. Nobody believes he can win in 2015 (except maybe you?). Everyone knows the referendum was just another piece of shallow Cameroon posturing

  • Framer

    This is obviously too late for Bulgarian and Romania and probably Croatia (now in transitional mode). So it would really only ever apply to Albania, Serbia, possibly Kosovo, and Turkey.

    In the last case it would take a lot more than fiddling with the social security rules to convince the French, for one, to admit Ankara.

    Cameron and Hague seem blithely keen to allow this huge Asian country into the EU, probably in the full and certain knowledge others will block the new Ottomans.

    Such courage.

    Now, if he (and Boris) changed their minds on Turkey that might prove he is more than a late convert to addressing the issue of the mass movement of peoples from Europe into the UK. (And of course the ‘new Europeans’ like Dutch Somalis rapidly granted Netherlands citizenship.)

    BTW what came over the BBC allowing John Humphries to almost abrasively interview the relevant EU Commissioner on ‘Today’?

    Clegg cover or more?

    • McClane

      They should let Turkey in. Compared to the EU countries, It has the youngest workforce (to pay tax for your pensions) and the biggest army (to make EU soft power count).

      • James Strong

        And outside the major cities they are unsophisticated mohammedans.
        Just what we need more of.

        • McClane

          What do you think the UK has, outside the major cities? Even inside the major cities?

          • BoiledCabbage

            ….inbred fools, mostly.

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