The European Commission’s vice-president said it will not be possible for Britain to restrict the freedom of movement of Bulgarians and Romanians when UK work restrictions expire next year.
Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister David Cameron declared that he wants to “overhaul the benefits system” and ordered ministers to come up with ideas ensure that the UK’s public services and welfare system are not a “soft touch” for migrants, including EU citizens.
But EU Justice Commissioner and Commission vice-president Viviane Reding insisted yesterday that from 2014, Romanian and Bulgarian nationals must be treated in the same way as citizens of other member states, who have the right to work and settle in the UK.
“It is necessary to have the same rights for the citizens all over Europe,” Reding told BBC Radio 4’s World at One.
“Britain was always one of those member states who pushed for the enlargement of Europe and that is why we are now building minimum standards in this enlarged Europe in order to have an equilibrium of rights for the citizens – all citizens.
“There are one million British citizens living in another member state. Do you think those member states can discriminate against them because they are British citizens? You treat them the same as you treat national citizens.
“The free movement directive is not a directive on which Britain can opt out. Free movement is one of the foundations of the single market and the single market is something which the UK is very attached to and it is one of the most cherished EU rights.
“It is a two-way street – it has rights and obligations – but what you can’t do is discriminate.”
Reding also warned that Britain faces a lengthy and expensive process if it chooses to exercise its right to opt out of certain aspects of pan-European rules on crime and justice.
Home Secretary Theresa May has indicated that the government plans to exercise its opt-out on the 133 measures in 2014, before negotiating to opt back in to those which are deemed to be in the national interest.
But Reding said: “I think that would not be very wise… It is very, very complicated and complex, time-consuming, with legal uncertainty and costs.”
Britain would have to opt out of all justice and home affairs matters before applying to opt back in to those which it wanted to share in, she said.
And she added: “There may be financial implications for GB because GB will have to pay for the damages which are done by this opt-out.”
Reding said that Britain’s ability to opt back in to selected measures would not be a foregone conclusion, as the Commission would first have to consider the “coherence” of the UK’s demands and their impact on the overall architecture of EU security policies. Source: Huffington Post.
EU and EEA national citizens are not actually entitled to live indefinitely in the UK without conforming to certain rules.
Existing rules (though not generally enforced) state that EU citizens can freely travel to the UK or any other EU member state and stay for 3 months before exercising various treaty rights or declaring themselves as self sufficient.
At present, only Romanian and Bulgarian students are forced, in any large numbers, to take out medical or ‘comprehensive sickness insurance’ cover before being granted a yellow card permit to work and study in the UK.
If you have been arrested or detained, need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 1, 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed, Spouse Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email:
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Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.
For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org