Den britiske regjeringen oppfatter det som oppmuntrende at den tyske kansleren Angela Merkel ikke avviser regjeringens forslag til omfattende endringer av velferdsrettighetene til EU-innvandrere. Endringene vil blant annet innebære at arbeidssøkere fra EU-land må ha arbeidet i Storbritannia i fire år før de har krav på en rekke velferdsytelser. EU-innvandrere som ikke har «genuine jobbutsikter» vil ikke lenger få arbeidsledighetstrygd.
Merkel mener at forslagene må diskuteres i detalj.
Imidlertid bor det nesten like mange polakker i Storbritannia som det gjør i Krakow (750.000 innbyggere) og da innstramningene i stor grad vil ramme dem, har den polske regjeringen gjort det klart at de vil blokkere forslagene med mindre de blir myket opp.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s prospects of securing agreement for the package of changes were given a boost by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the proposals needed to be discussed ‘in detail’.
Her comments were seen as an indication she will not try to block the main thrust of Mr Cameron’s proposal.
Mrs Merkel told a press conference she was ‘pleased’ that Mr Cameron had not attempted to undermine the principle of free movement.
‘We are pleased that this was not put into question by the British prime minister,’ she said.
‘The proposals that were presented now need to be discussed in detail,’ she added, saying that Germany and the European Commission would have a close look at Cameron’s propositions.
However, the Polish government made clear it would veto the proposals unless they are watered down. Many of the beneficiaries of Britain’s generous benefits system are Polish.
This week it emerged that Britain now has almost as many Poles as live in Krakow.
Den polske EU-ministeren Rafal Trzaskowski sier at å beskytte EUs prinsipp om fri bevegelse er en «absolutt rød linje» for Polen i enhver forhandling om en ny avtale for Storbritannia.
Britiske ministre mener på sin side at innstramningene faller innenfor eksisterende EU-regler og dermed kan implementeres uten godkjennelse fra EU.
From January this year EU migrants were given a maximum of six months of JSA claims during which they could look for work. In July, Mr Cameron announced this would be cut to three months.
But the rules were not retrospective, meaning some 4,000 EU migrants who have been here since before January do not fall under the six months maximum.
Whitehall sources said anyone claiming before the new rules came into force will have their JSA withdrawn unless they have ‘very clear job prospects’.
A genuine prospect of work test, applied to their benefit claims, will attempt to work out whether or not they are likely to get a job in the near future.
Currently, Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid out at £72.40 a week for over 25s and £57.35 a week for under 25s. Meanwhile, Eurosceptic Tory MPs will attempt to embarrass Mr Cameron today with a new demand to seize back powers from Europe over borders and immigration.
Twelve backbenchers have signed up to a proposal that would hand Parliament an override on all diktats from Brussels – and allow Britain to overrule rulings from European judges.
The Bill would provide for an effective veto of any law coming out of the European Union with a majority vote in both Houses of Parliament. Bill Cash, the chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, will publish the UK Parliament (Sovereignty and Jurisdiction over Borders) Bill in Parliament today.
The timing will annoy the party leadership, who are focused on Chancellor George Osborne’s crunch Autumn Statement.
The Bill will not be debated in the House of Commons but could distract from the focus on the economy. Mr Cash said: ‘This is absolutely essential, it is needed, it is in the national interest.’
‘The voters’ right to govern themselves through Parliament has served us over the past generations and it is now absolutely essential to reassert that.
‘We either accept what the EU is doing or we take a stand.’