Sunday 23 November 2014

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Labour turns its attention to restricting EU migrants’ access to in-work benefits

Posted by on 18/11/14
Iain Duncan Smith's opposite number, Labour's Rachel Reeves, has written an interesting piece on EU migrants' access to welfare for the Mail Online, in which signals an important shift in Labour's policy.

Last week we noted that IDS had set out that he wanted to restrict EU migrants' access not simply to out-of-work benefits but also in-work benefits such as tax credits - something that our Research Director Stephen Booth and LSE Professor Damian Chalmers proposed in a recent Open Europe pamphlet.

Reeves sets out three proposals to reform the EU rules on access to welfare. Firstly:
"We believe that it is right to extend the period that EU jobseekers need to live and support themselves in the UK before claiming out-of-work benefits from three months to two years."
This had been hinted at by senior Labour figures before. But, for the first time, Labour have said they also want to address in-work benefits:
"We must also look at the role of in-work benefits. It is far too easy for employers in Britain to undercut wages and working conditions by recruiting temporary workers from elsewhere in Europe on very low pay and with no job security, knowing that the benefit system will top up their income." 
"So while some have said that we cannot negotiate changes to benefits paid to people in work, I am determined to look at how we can deliver reform in this area too."
As we have noted before, restricting access to this low-wage welfare supplement could reduce the incentive to migrate to the UK for the lowest paid jobs as the UK's system of in-work benefits can make a significant difference to the incomes of the lowest paid.

And thirdly, Reeves has said:
"We will work with European countries to end the absurdity of child benefit and child tax credits being claimed for children living in other countries."
This is near unanimous consensus among all the main parties on this point.

The change in stance on in-work benefits is significant and would have the biggest impact, and it is therefore interesting why this wasn't given top billing in the article?

IDS sets out broad strokes of reforms to EU free movement

Posted by on 13/11/14
The Telegraph has an interesting transcript of an Iain Duncan Smith interview with LBC Radio, which outlines the Government's current thinking on EU migration and which might signal the types of reforms that David Cameron is weighing up before delivering his promised speech on immigration in the aftermath of the Rochester and Strood by-election.

Here's what the Work and Pensions Secretary said, following this week's European Court of Justice ruling on access to benefits:
"This is about people who want to enter a country and have no prospects of work and are not intending to work, so that is stopping and shutting the door to them as we have done." 
Essentially, IDS says that the ECJ's ruling runs with the grain of the domestic changes the UK has already made to restrict access to out-of-work benefits. But he is clear that he wants to go further:
"The next problem is people who come to work, and then can claim full tax credits even though they have made no contribution. And that is the point I am making... countries shouldn’t have to do that. They shouldn’t have to support people who are coming over here, who have made no contribution." 
This is very much along the lines of what our Research Director Stephen Booth and Professor Damian Chalmers proposed in their pamphlet on EU migration and national welfare systems - a re-write of EU legislation to enable national governments to restrict access to non-contributory benefits for up to three years.

And, thirdly, IDS suggests that:
"And the third area which you talked about…is that the issue around freedom of movement isn’t that you don’t want to stop freedom of movement, but what you want to be able to say is: ‘sometimes there are limits that communities can absorb people and the pressure on public services and housing and stuff like that’." 
"European rules need to take recognition of the pressure that puts on local communities, and that’s really part of the negotiation."
This last point is perhaps the most interesting as it suggests that the option of some form of 'emergency brake' on EU migration is still under consideration.

As we have said before, there are many ways in which such a mechanism could operate, and it might just be negotiable, although this would be a much taller ask than reforming the rules around access to welfare.

Cameron’s flawed understanding of a ‘vast’ amount

Posted by on 11/11/14
By Kevin Hannon Mr Cameron is appalled at the 'vast' amount as he called it being asked of the UK as its extra contribution to the EU. Putting the £1.67 billion EU contribution into perspective and context to show the real scale of the economic issue makes clear that our Prime Minister, Mr Cameron, has a strange notion of what is 'vast'.

Everyone take a deep breath: Merkel’s comments are wide of the mark

Posted by on 03/11/14
Der Spiegel reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned David Cameron at last month’s EU summit that she would no longer try to keep the UK in the EU if Cameron sought to impose quotas or a cap on workers from other EU countries, as opposed to changing the rules around EU migrants’ access to benefits. The magazine also reported that the German Chancellery and Foreign Ministry fear that, for the first time, Cameron is pushing the UK towards a “point of no return” in terms of its EU membership and that a UK exit is “possible”. But there’s no reason to be get overly excited though.
  • This was a report from one magazine which didn’t include any direct quotes from Merkel, but merely quoted unnamed sources. Moreover, as Sky News' Faisal Islam points out, the report isn't exactly front page either... its on page 36 of the print edition.
  • The reported comments were specifically about reports in the UK media about Number 10 possibly considering putting outright caps on the number of EU migrants who can come to Britain to work, either via quotas or a points-based system. So one speculative media report leading to another.
  • As we’ve argued repeatedly, there are two elements to free movement: volume – how many EU migrants come to the UK every year. And fairness: who can access what benefits and when. That Merkel doesn’t support an end to the basic right for EU migrants to come to the UK to work isn’t surprising at all. It’s been the German government position for ages. Stefan Seibert, Merkel’s spokesperson this morning re-stated Germany’s commitment to “the general principle of free movement”.
However, within that there’s a lot of scope for change and plenty of EU reforms that could fly in Berlin. Remember, the Bundestag will this week vote on a number of proposals aimed at tightening EU migrants’ access to benefits, including re-entry bans for those migrants that abuse of the German welfare system.

It’s interesting that since the stories in the UK media about a points-based system or quotas for EU migrants, FAZ and the Sunday Times note that the UK government is now looking to make its EU free movement proposals “Germany-compatible”. Also, UK Chancellor George Osborne told the BBC this morning,
“It was never envisaged that you would have such large numbers of people coming, people coming who don’t have job offers, people who move on to our benefits system…We are going to do this in a calm and rational way, but the British people want this addressed.”
The “job offer” part is interesting – the right to move to another EU country without a specific job offer hasn’t always been there. However, note there’s nothing about a cap – what the Der Spiegel report was about.

Similarly, at Downing Street’s briefing to journalists today, Cameron’s spokeswoman said:
“When the founding fathers established the European Union and introduced the principle of free movement, it was about labour and how you integrate the countries of the single market. The mass migration that we have seen with new countries joining, the impact on countries like the UK, the free movement to claim benefit – these are areas that have evolved and need to be addressed.”
There’s the point about wider “impact” but, again, the main focal point is benefits.

Which may suggest that No 10 remains primarily committed to looking at “fairness” – not actually ending free movement per se.

So only tweaks then? Not at all. Open Europe has today published a new pamphlet by Professor Damian Chalmers and Open Europe Research Director Stephen Booth which argues that the basic right to go and work anywhere in the EU should stand – on the whole, free movement remains a clear benefit to the UK. However, national governments should be able to limit EU migrants’ access to out-of-work and in-work benefits, social housing and publicly funded apprenticeships until after three years.

Incidentally, Der Spiegel did not claim that Merkel was now ‘ready to accept’ the UK exiting the EU, as some UK media outlets have reported. Instead, she now considers Brexit “möglich”, which translates as “possible”, which is more along the lines that it is something she fears.

In other words, whilst certainly a strong indicator of the mood music in Germany and the UK, on specific substance, this is much less of a story than the headlines suggest.

How to save Cameron from himself

Posted by on 28/10/14

There are some who are tempted to let David Cameron enjoy the consequences of his latest tantrum at the European Council. But for the sake of the long-term relationship of Britain and Europe it is probably worth rescuing him. Here are the elements of the deal.

The European Commission apologises for the clumsy way in which news of the latest technical budgetary adjustments was handled last week: its excuse is the handover from Barroso II to Juncker I. The Commission also agrees to write into its rules of procedure a mechanism for raising to the political level of the college the handling of future budgetary adjustments that are unexpected or substantial.

The UK’s Office of National Statistics comes up with some marginally adjusted numbers. The Ecofin meeting on Friday 31st verifies the Commission’s figures and tweaks them if appropriate for any member state (on a proposal of the Commission).

The British government asks to pay the agreed total sum in three tranches before July. The interest charges in case of non-payment – 2% in December rising by 0.5% every month – are deferred. This is accepted.

The Sixth Draft Amending Budget including all the adjustments, the reduction in overall expenditure and the rise of the UK rebate, is then passed before 15 November by the Council and Parliament.

The European Council in December agrees a statement committing the member states, at the next revision of the financial system, to reduce the proportion of own resources paid by direct GNI contributions from national treasuries. The Monti high-level task force on the mid-term review of the MFF is directed to reach a commensurately high level of ambition.

It is worth recalling that if the 6th DAB is not agreed the UK will have to pay €3.6bn and not €2.1bn. Even the House of Commons should be able to understand that.

Cameron’s ‘EU budget’ mess: the UK political tectonic plates are on the move

Posted by on 28/10/14
by Graham Bishop, financial policy expert, founder of www.grahambishop.com and member of the European Movement’s National Council. /// Ever since it emerged that the the UK’s contribution to the EU has to increase the issue has assumed a life of its own. The initial “why are we being punished for our success” spin is giving [...]

What’s Osborne’s plan in the face of increased borrowing?

Posted by on 28/10/14

Whitehouse Consultancy Head of PR Chris Rogers claims increased borrowing will make George Osborne’s austerity message a harder sell.

To read Chris’ article, please click here.

The Whitehouse Consultancy is one of Europe’s leading public affairs and communications agencies.

Why is the UK being asked to pay in more to the EU budget and what can it do about it?

Posted by on 24/10/14
By Open Europe There are a number of headlines today around the EU’s request for a further €2.1bn from the UK in terms of its contribution to the EU’s budget. We breakdown exactly how and why this has happened and what options the UK has now.

Irony alert as Poles ride to UKIP’s rescue in a classic Brussels stitch-up

Posted by on 20/10/14
We reported only a few days ago that UKIP's EFDD group in the European Parliament collapsed after a Latvian MEP resigned, meaning the group no longer met the criteria of having MEPs from at least seven different EU member states. The news drew a lot of media attention (not to mention schadenfreude) mainly due to the financial implications for UKIP - which, according to our estimates, stood to lose nearly €2 million a year in EU funding.

Today, it was announced that Robert Iwaszkiewicz, an MEP with Janusz Korwin-Mikke's KNP (pictured) has joined the group. Korwin-Mikke himself was deemed too toxic to join the UKIP group after the European elections given his controversial views on rape (women always "pretend to resist") and the Holocaust (no evidence Hitler knew about it), and that was before he provoked a full-blown race row. Iwaszkiewicz himself is hardly baggage free; during an interview about with Gazeta Wrocławska a couple of months ago, when asked about domestic violence, he said that:
"I'm convinced that many a wife would benefit from such a response in order to re-connect with reality."
When asked about his Korwin-Mikke's views as described above, he said that "these are taken out of context... when considered broadly, they make sense". In any event, this does not appear to be a principled defection - but rather a classic Brussels-style dirty deal. Polish daily Rzeczpospolita reports that Korwin-Mikke and Farage struck an agreement which would see Iwaszkiewicz's transfer mirrored by an MEP from the EFDD move to the 'far-right' bloc led by France's Marine Le Pen, which also includes Geert Wilders's PVV, the Austrian Freedom Party and Lega Nord, and fell one nationality short of forming an official group during the summer. The paper describes this a "binding transaction" and quotes Iwaszkiewicz as saying that:
"Negotiations are on-going. It was necessary to save them and I had to join urgently".
It remains unclear therefore whether an MEP from the EFDD will definitely join the Le Pen group - but that seems to be the implication. Because of the way the nationalities are represented over the two groups, it would either have to be one of UKIP's 24 MEPs or one of the two Sweden Democrats.

If the former, UKIP and Nigel Farage will face some uncomfortable questions given the extent to which they have tried to distance themselves from the Front National. Regardless, this incident just underscores the absurdity of these taxpayer subsides for European Parliament groups.

We should be concerned about Ukip’s approach to overseas aid

Posted by on 20/10/14

We should be concerned about Ukip’s approach to overseas aid, argues Whitehouse Chairman Chris Whitehouse in his latest piece for The Universe magazine.

To read Chris’ article, please click here.

The Whitehouse Consultancy is one of Europe’s leading public affairs and communications agencies.

UK takes another blow over bankers’ bonus cap

Posted by on 19/10/14
EBA HQ in London
The European Banking Authority (EBA) on Wednesday released the results of its investigation into whether banks across Europe have been using ‘allowances’ to skirt the EU’s bankers’ bonus cap. This is obviously a hugely contentious issue in the UK and the fact that UK banks have been taking this approach has been well publicised and oft criticised by EU politicians. But it’s interesting to note that the EBA found 39 banks across six EU states had been using such allowances, so clearly it is an issue which extends beyond the UK’s big banks.

Nevertheless, the opinion does not bode well for the UK with the EBA concluding:
“The EBA found that in most cases institutions had topped up the fixed remuneration of their staff and had introduced discretionary ‘role based' allowances which have an impact on the limit of the ratio between variable and fixed remuneration required by the EU Capital Requirements Directive (CRD IV).”

“The report showed that most of the allowances, which were the subject of the EBA investigation, did not fulfil the conditions for being classified as fixed remuneration, namely with respect to their discretionary nature, which allows institutions to adjust or withdraw them unilaterally, without any justification.”
The report is much as expected, with the EBA making the case that the allowances are not permanent pay for a number of reasons: they are revocable with little notice, specific to the staff member not the role, often have forfeit clauses therefore not permanent and are often linked to proxies for the firms performance (such as the economic environment).

The last point in particular clearly chimes with concerns from banks that they will have less control over their costs at times of economic hardship. This is exacerbated by the point (number 37 in the report) below which is frankly just a bit strange:
"Some role-based allowances might only have been introduced to comply with the bonus cap introduced by the CRD IV while retaining some cost flexibility. Cost flexibility is of importance where the performance of the institution or a business unit is no longer considered adequate."
Surely, cost flexibility is always relevant for a business, particularly one in a very competitive environment, and not just when it is failing? We’re not quite sure what the EBA is getting at there.

What happens now?
  • The opinion isn’t binding, although the EBA has said it expects national regulators to make sure that all banks are in compliance by the end of the year, however, it has no legal way to enforce this (yet).
  • The EBA is currently reviewing its guidelines on the issue and will hold a public consultation before the end of the year with the new official rules being published in the first half of 2015 (at this point they will be legally binding).
  • In particular, if banks want to continue using allowances they will have to be “predetermined, transparent to staff and permanent”.
  • Ultimately, this throws a bit more uncertainty in the mix with banks uncertain over exactly how and when to adjust their allowances.
What does this mean for the UK?
  • Clearly, this is a bit of a blow for the UK. That said, the issue has already to an extent moved out of the EBA’s hands. The UK is challenging the original proposal at the European Court of Justice. Even if this proposal fails it could challenge the updated guidelines/rules which are used to implement the cap. Banks themselves could of course choose to launch legal challenges although this looks unlikely at this stage.
  • Banks will ultimately find a way to pay their staff the market rate. This will likely end up being in the form of higher base salaries, something which will make banks less flexible and push up their average costs. This could potentially harm competitiveness and possibly force banks to pass on such costs to consumers.
  • The biggest concern is a broader one of precedent and where laws are really made. The bonus cap was a specific law tagged onto a much larger piece of legislation to which it is largely unrelated. This significantly aided its passage through and watered down scrutiny. Then given the technical nature of the rules a lot of the holes were filled in by the Commission and the EBA in setting the exact parameters for implementation – providing a lot of power to the two institutions. The temptation to take such an approach with complex financial regulation is obvious and circumvents the little accountability and control which member states have.
This debate surely has some way to run yet but this looks to be one battle which so far the UK is losing.

EU BANS TEDDIES IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!

Posted by on 16/10/14

True? False? Who cares?

It’s a great headline. With many shops, particularly in the UK, already displaying Christmas baubles in their windows it’s a timely news item certain to grab reader’s attention – especially that broad demographic “parents” who are already fretting over how to fill their children’s stockings in time for Christmas.

The answer of course is false. Let us spell this out clearly: No. The EU is not proposing to ban any teddies in time for Christmas. There is no such proposal on the table. No debates in Parliament. No member state pushing for it in the Council. No ECJ judgement imminent. Some years ago it nearly became headline news but that was a long time ago now…..

….in the mid-1990’s Emma Bonino, the chain-smoking radical feminist who, until recently was Italy’s Foreign Affairs minister, worked as the EU Commissioner for Consumer Affairs. At the time I was working for a public affairs consultancy. Late one Friday afternoon I got a panic stricken message from a client whose job it was to oversee the safety of toys sold across Europe. You can say many things about manufacturers, corporations and industry, all possibly true, but the one thing you can not say of the toy manufacturers is that they do not take safety seriously. If anything goes wrong it’s belly-up for them. Toy safety and the Toy Safety Directive was something they worked on round the clock. Each manufacturer had a dedicated safety officer in charge of designing safe toys and ensuring that all toys sold on the EU market met the safety criteria set out by the Toy Safety Directive.

That Friday afternoon the boffs were in disarray, panic was spreading amongst the ranks, disaster was nigh. Calamity sizzled in the air. Some lowly official in the Commission had proposed an amendment to the Toy Safety Directive that would have classified all toys with long hair as too dangerous for circulation in the EU. Were the amendment to go ahead it would have meant an effective European wide ban on all Barbie’s, teddy-bears, dolls and countless other toys that have fake hair attached to them. Something had to be done. Quick. I was to sort this mess out. Now. I rang the lady in the Commission responsible for the amendment. She didn’t deign to talk to me. I tried calling a few MEPs working on the proposed amendment. None of them were around; nor were their assistants particularly interested in helping me out. I tried to talk to some people higher up the command structure of the Commission. To no avail. No one was in the least bit interested in returning any of my calls or answering any of my urgent requests for more information on this proposed amendment. In the meantime I had the client on my back asking if I had any news? Desperate, I sent a fax to Emma Bonino’s spokesperson. In the subject line I wrote:

COMMISSION BANS TEDDIES IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS”.

Within five minutes I had a meeting with none other than the Commissioner Emma Bonino herself. Result. The meeting went well. The toy safety team presented their case. Satisfied that EU consumers were not at risk from toys with long hair the amendment was scrapped. Readers will be pleased to read that in the intervening twenty years or so there have been no reported cases of children being maimed by or killed by toys with long hair.

A rather long anecdote to make a simple point: when it comes to tabloid head-lines the Commission runs scared. For good reason. The press have been brilliant at ridiculing, belittling, mocking but above all misrepresenting Europe. How easy it is for some bored, ignored Brussels journalist to make up a little story that feeds into the populist mood and grabs the attention of the misinformed.

Then again, if the EU is too stupid to develop it’s own independent media to present it’s case then really it deserves all it gets. More of the EU communication budget goes on paying expensive Consultancies to prepare glossy corporate-style brochures than it does to supporting an independent pan-European media outlet capable of presenting independent, newsworthy stories on a daily basis that readers can identify with.

Yet, at the same time it has to be admitted that a profitable pan-European media is notoriously hard to develop. Many have tried. Many have failed. In the early 1990’s Maxwell launched “The European”. Eight years later it was dead in the dust. In 1995, The Economist launched European Voice but sold it last year to a French company. One of the few survivors has been EurActiv, founded in 1999. EU Observer is perhaps the only other survivor. Neither are large enough to take on the entrenched, media giants that dominate the national landscape and who shape voter’s perceptions of the EU.

There has been much talk in Brussels recently of the new Axel Springer-Politico Joint Venture that will create a new pan-European wide media. Will it succeed where other have floundered? That remains to be seen. More on that later.

In the mean time, in a spirit of mis-information, half-truths and misleading headlines euperspectives has been scouting around for some good, newsworthy stories to boost reader numbers and has come up with some highly probably stories that are bound to engage readers.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson bans Londoners from speaking English!

The Greater London Authority has announced that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, wants to turn London into a “mini-Holland”. Were in not printed in black you’d think they were making it up – but the headline clearly states “Mini-Holland trial starts in Walthamstow!”

This can only mean one thing – Londoner’s are going to have to learn Dutch. Dutch is a guttural language that does not lend itself to estuary English or cockney so we went out to ask what ordinary Londoners thought about the idea. Pete, a cab driver from Lewisham hadn’t heard of the plan but when explained that Johnson intends to turn London into a mini-Holland he was furious. “If Johnson thinks I’m going to learn Dutch he’s got another thing coming. Who does he think he is to tell me what language to speak!”

Sheila Connors, a GP in Hackney worried that many of her patients would not be able to understand her. Hugh, a city worker in Canary Wharf took a more pragmatic view pointing out that Holland had better cycling paths than London so perhaps it was time for Londoners to start behaving more like the Dutch and less like Londoners?A good place to start would be to switch from English to Dutch.

Given the sensitivity of turning London into a mini-Holland we caution Johnson to think carefully about where this plan is heading. What starts out as some loose plan to offer Dutch-style cycling paths in London will soon lead to the complete Dutchification of London. Londoners are just not ready to abandon English in favour of Dutch. At the very least they should be given an “in-out” referendum so that their voices can be heard.

Farage in secret talks with tobacco industry to feature UKIP colours on cigarette packaging

If you’re worried that your teen-age kids might be discouraged from taking up smoking or from drinking cheap alcohol because of proposed plans to introduce plain packaging and minimum alcohol pricing then fear no more. Vote UKIP. Farage, the charismatic leader of UKIP, well known for his love of a pint of lager and a packet of fags is totally opposed to plain packaging of any form. According to the UKIP website the party opposes all “plain paper packaging’ for tobacco products and minimum pricing of alcohol.”

So delighted is the tobacco industry with Britain’s latest rising political star, rumour has it they are in talks with UKIP to use their bright colours, purple and yellow, on all cigarette packages before the end of the year. A spokesperson for the industry said, “Nigel Farage is a role model to all young people. He is a fine example of what a success you can make of yourself if you learn how to smoke more than twenty a day and drink in the pub at lunch time. We would most certainly welcome closer ties with UKIP.”

Farage has never made a secret of his love for drinks, smoking and women and he has not completely denied that he accepted a donation of EUR 25 000 from a British e-cigarette company. He later went on to make a You Tube video promoting their product.

True? False? Who cares?

 

David Cameron’s speech raises Tory prospects ahead of General Election

Posted by on 13/10/14

Whitehouse Consultancy Chairman Chris Whitehouse argues that David Cameron has steadied the Party ahead of the General Election.

To read Chris’ article, please click here.

The Whitehouse Consultancy is one of Europe’s leading public affairs and communications agencies.

David Cameron and his Ministers continue to tread fine line on EU migration reform

Posted by on 04/10/14
UPDATE: The Prime Minister has now given his conference speech. This is the passage on EU migration:
"Immediate access to our welfare system, paying benefits to families back home, employment agencies signing up people from overseas, not recruiting here, numbers that have increased faster than we in this country wanted and at a level that was too much for our communities and for our labour markets. All of this has to change and it will be at the very heart of my renegotiation strategy for Europe. Britain: I know you want this sorted, so I will go to Brussels, I will not take no for an answer and when it comes to free movement I will get what Britain needs."
So, no new policy announcement today. However, David Cameron's reference to the "numbers that have increased" and "at a level that was too much for our communities" leaves the question we posed below hanging. He could argue that tackling migrants' access to benefits (particularly in-work benefits) will help with the numbers, as it could reduce the incentive for some to migrate, particularly those at the lower end of the job market. Will he be prepared (or be allowed) to stop there?

Original post: The Times and the Mail today both feature stories on the increasing pressure on David Cameron to take a stronger stance on migration from the EU.

The Times suggests that senior figures within his party are calling on him to use his renegotiation to explore the introduction of quotas on migrants from existing EU member states. It quotes London Mayor Boris Johnson saying that
“We all want change, we all want a renegotiation. We want sensible control of the numbers of people coming in. I think you would agree that it is the right and duty of every state to have some idea of how many people want to settle in its boundaries, what jobs they propose to do there, and how much they cost the local authorities. Isn’t that fair enough?”
As we have noted before, the free movement debate is about fairness and volume. So far, David Cameron and his Ministers have concentrated on the former - rules on migrants' access to benefits can be changed through secondary EU legislation via QMV and co-decision with MEPs and there is widespread support for addressing the issue among like-minded countries in Northern Europe. David Cameron is also on the record saying that he wants new conditions placed on migrants from countries that join the EU in future. However, the latter issue, addressing the numbers of migrants coming from existing EU member states is much tougher - it means addressing what is seen as a fundamental tenet of the EU and altering it would require unanimous agreement, almost certainly via treaty change.

Home Secretary Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond have both been quoted on the subject today, but both have stuck to line that an 'emergency brake' or measures to tackle the numbers of migrants would apply to new members of the EU, not existing ones.

May said:
"This is an area where David Cameron and I have said we need to look to the future to talk about the rules, particularly for countries coming into the EU in the future, and putting some sort of brake on their access to full free movement. For example, one idea we’ve suggested is they shouldn’t have full free movement rights until their GDP, their economy, is at a certain level compared to other economies within the EU."
Similarly, Hammond told an Open Europe fringe event that:
“It isn’t going to be enough just to look at benefit abuse...We are going to have to look at how we accommodate future new member states with the implementation of free movement, future new member states and how we restrict them. We are going to have to look at how we deal with destabilising flows."
There has been speculation that Cameron will address the issue in some way in his conference speech today, it will be interesting to see how he treads what is an increasingly fine line.

Older voters targeted by UK parties ahead of the General Election

Posted by on 01/10/14

Whitehouse Head of PR Chris Rogers argues the General Election will be determined by older voters and all parties will focus their manifesto to that demographic.

To read the full article, click here.

The Whitehouse Consultancy is one of Europe’s leading public affairs and communications agencies.

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