Home Secretary Theresa May’s proposals to place greater restrictions on free movement in the EU were dismissed by the European Commission on Thursday.
of EU ministers, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding attacked the ’s welfare
system, saying it was “too generous” and “any abuse of benefits by EU migrants
is the fault of the British authorities.” UK
Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding attacked the |
Last week May suggested a cap on numbers if immigration crosses a certain threshold and proposed new member states reach a certain level of economic output or income per head before full free movement rights are permitted.
“We must be able to slow full access to each other’s labour markets until we can be sure it will not lead to mass migration,” said May.
Germany and have
shown some support for free movement reform. Italy
The meeting follows the announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron of plans to limit EU nationals’ access to benefits in the
, a move which
may turn out to be unlawful under EU law. UK
Among the limitations on the availability of benefits to EU migrants proposed by Cameron are no unemployment benefits for the first three months, no housing benefits on arrival and no benefits after six months.
Reding said the changes will be monitored in
and challenged legally
should they break European law. Brussels
“Our EU rules are good and they are here to stay. Member states need to apply them to tackle abuse,” said Reding.
The European Commission is expected to release a report on free movement abuse during the two-day meeting which is scheduled to end today.
The proposals come ahead of the removal of labour market restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers in the
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal the biggest rise in immigration in the year preceding June 2013 was migrants from EU nations.
October saw the publication of a European Commission report which claims less than 38,000 EU migrants claimed Jobseeker's Allowance in the
in 2012 and unemployed migrants made up just 1.2 per cent of the total
Free movement is a fundamental principal of the EU and one which is closely tied to trade and economic integration. Eurostat data says there were 2.3 million EU citizens in the
and 2.2 million
citizens in other EU countries in 2012. UK