The EU proposals to keep the Great Britain in the Union

Employment and Social Affairs

The free movement of workers in the EU is one of the most contentious part of the news deal aimed at keeping Great Britain in the European Union. The Council of the EU President, Donald Tusk, negotiated with British Premier, David Cameron, a Draft Decision concerning a new settlement for the United Kingdom within the EU. “Keeping the unity of the European Union is the biggest challenge for all of us and so it is the key objective of my mandate”, said Tusk presenting the draft decision.

This document provides a framework for the United Kingdom reforms on competitiveness, economic governance, migration and sovereignty. Social benefits for EU migrants – mainly coming from East European Countries – and non discrimination based on nationality in the European labour market are among the most delicate issues at stake in the deal between the EU and British premier David Cameron. East European nations in the EU have warned that their support for the draft is not sure. Thus next days until the European Council on 18th of February, when a final decision has to be taken – are crucial for negotiations because some countries, namely Poland and Hungary, are not convinced of the need for a special treatment for London. In order to have the deal approved Cameron has to obtain the approval of some of the EU Countries that are skeptical on some point of the negotiations. For example as regard Cameron’s controversial demand for a temporary ban on in-work benefits for EU migrants living in Great Britain there is no an EU member states consensus: the length of time for which the so-called “emergency brake” — a 4-year ban on benefits for incoming migrants — could be in place seems to be one of the key problems to be discussed.

While EU countries are reluctant to use their veto in the European Council it would not easy to accept  a possible impact of these reforms on the estimated 1 million Polish in Great Britain or the 200,000 Hungarians: many East European Countries are concerned that Tusk plan to keep Great Britain in EU would discriminate their workers.

The crucial point that need to be solved is to try to find a proper balance between the EU key principle based on the freedom of movement of workers and the reform aimed at preventing the so-called “Brexit”. In this sense the draft presented by Donald Tusk says that “Whereas the free movement of workers under Article 45 TFEU entails the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment, this right may be subject to limitations on grounds of public policy, public security or public health”.

The deal is not finale and still has to be agreed at an EU summit starting on Thursday 18 February. British premier Cameron has already indicated that he is satisfied with EU offer and wants the deal done, so that the referendum on Brexit can be held in June with more chance to have a positive result for the whole European Union.

Related Articles

Back to Top