Sadly for all of us, the Prime Minister does not have the guts to do what is necessary, says Nigel Farage.
You have got to love European Commissioner Viviane Reding. Like a greyhound, she is immediately out of the traps pouncing on David Cameron’s rabbit. “But David, the UK supported enlargement which it could have vetoed” and again, “Any renegotiation of free movement can only be tabled by the European Commission and it has no plans to do so.”
Mr Cameron’s plans are only out today and already they are in tatters.
Of course, she made clear earlier this year that Romanian and Bulgarian migrants to the UK will have the same rights to reside and draw benefits as British nationals. Unless he acts to stop mass migration from Romania and Bulgaria from January 1, 2014, what the Prime Minister is proposing does not amount to a row of beans.
Today Mr Cameron basically said: “Carry on coming but you can only claim benefits from April 1 rather than January 1 2014”, which is hardly a severe penalty.
His light touch proposals will not deter Romanian and Bulgarian people who are living in severe poverty relative to the UK from coming here. The free movement of EU citizens is a binding EU rule from which Mr Cameron has refused to deviate.
Although he mentions a few sympathetic EU partners, the UK does not have sufficient support from other EU states to form a blocking minority, nor can he achieve Treaty change of fundamental EU law.
The UK is severely restricted by the EU on what it can do to EU migrants on both entry to the UK and access to our welfare benefits.
David Cameron is correct on one thing – when he says Labour made a “monumental mistake” by allowing EU mass immigration in 2004. On the other hand, he is repeating the same mistakes of Tony Blair, simply adding a few tweaks but this will not be an effective remedy to our problem. Indeed all the Lib/Lab/Con parties are in favour of greater EU enlargement, even to include Turkey. This is just madness.
Uniquely on the problem of mass immigration, Ukip has form. We told people the truth about the consequences of opening our doors to all EU migrants in 2004.
Many people realise the only reason for Mr Cameron’s limp proposal is to curb the rise of Ukip. He’s trying to shoot Ukip’s fox.
We in Ukip have driven the agenda in terms of warning of the dangers of opening up our doors to EU nations like Bulgaria and Romania next year and now we see Mr Cameron trying to recover from the Ukip surge
Ukip have outfoxed him at every turn, he is getting desperate, and is again making proposals and promises he knows he cannot keep. He raises the issue of “exporting child benefit”, something I raised in a speech in Strasbourg a few weeks ago. But there is nothing he can do about it without breaking EU law. So what is it going to be?
Under UK rules a range of benefits – child benefit, child tax credit, state pension credit, jobseekers’ allowance and unemployment support allowance – are only given to those with a “right to reside”. This “right to reside” test can easily be bypassed by them claiming to be self-employed, eg. selling the Big Issue.
The European Commission is already taking the UK to the European Court of Justice to ensure that all EU citizens have the same right as UK residents.
The clock is ticking towards January 1. Mr Cameron must act to stop mass immigration from Romania and Bulgaria. Sadly for all of us, he does not have the guts to do what is necessary.
Only Ukip’s stance of leaving the EU, restoring full border controls and choosing who enters the UK before they get here is the sensible way forward.
Nigel Farage is the leader of Ukip