Since the beginning of the last year Prime Minister David Cameron has been announcing that he will be “tightening the taps for immigrants, including the Poles”. We reacted immediately- I sent a written question to the European Commission. The answer I received was giving Polish government every opportunity to continue legal procedures within the European Institutions. Nothing has been done.
The threats of the Polish Prime Minister that he will veto the change of the European Law are ridiculous. Cameron wants to create a fait accompli in Great Britain, whose purpose is to limit immigrants’ access to British welfare. We should make sure that this type of activity was contested as not compliant with the European Treaties.
Below I am quoting my question sent to the European Commission and the answer of Viviane Reding. I am dedicating this to Prime Minister Tusk before today’s conversation with David Cameron.
Question for written answer
to the Commission
Marek Siwiec (S&D)
On 25 March 2013, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, declared in a speech on immigration that he intends to change the status of immigrants to the UK benefiting from the EU’s rules on freedom of movement and that he will restrict their access to housing benefits and to the National Health Service (NHS). In particular, he announced that:
— people arriving from an EU Member State who are not able to find a job will lose their right to the jobseekers’ allowance after six months;
— regarding eligibility for council housing, local people will be given priority, and immigrants will not be eligible until they have been in the country for 2 years;
— measures will be taken in order to restrict access to health services which could mean non-EU nationals having to prove they hold insurance before obtaining care.
Given that Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union guarantees the free movement of workers within the territory of the Member States and outlaws all forms of discrimination on the basis of nationality with regard to employment, reimbursement and other working conditions:
Does the Commission think that these announcements violate the EU’s fundamental treaty rule concerning the right of EU citizens to move freely? Has the Commission considered whether the above statements are in conflict with Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC, as well as Commission Regulation (EC) No 635/2006 of 25 April 2006 repealing Regulation (EEC) No 1251/70 on the right of workers to remain in the territory of a Member State after having been employed in that State?
23 May 2013 P-004500/2013
Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission
The fundamental right of free movement is one of the rights most cherished by EU citizens and the Commission is fully committed to safeguarding this right and ensuring that EU citizens can effectively enjoy it across the EU.
In this context, the compatibility with EC law of any measure presented by the UK Government to implement the plans can be — and will be — closely monitored once draft measures are tabled.
To improve the rights of EU workers by ensuring better information and support as regards enforcement of EU rights, the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on measures facilitating the exercise of rights conferred on workers in the context of freedom of movement for workers on 26 April 2013 (COM(2013)236).