November 27, 2013
We have just published a new flash analysis looking at David Cameron’s plans to change the rules on EU migrants’ access to benefits.
Here’s a handy table (click to enlarge) summarising the key proposals, and whether they are likely to be deemed legal by the European Commission:
However, remember, the UK is already locked into an ongoing legal dispute with the Commission over the rights of EU migrants to access the UK’s ‘universalist’ welfare system. Cameron’s recent intervention signifies a definite hardening of tone and position in this dispute, and in response EU Social Affairs Commissioner Laszlo Andor has said that the UK risks being seen as a “nasty country.”
As we have said before (see here, here and here, for instance), we think the Commission has a tendency to be overly activist in this area. However, the key issues here – which Cameron could have done a better job of expressing in his intervention – is that the EU’s complicated and outdated rules on access to welfare need a complete overhaul, something which the Austrians, Dutch and Germans have already signalled their support for.Open Europe blog team