Let’s get this straight: Cameron has been traipsing his miserable, restrictive plans around Europe like a beggar, courting refusal everywhere he goes – and back home, George Osborne wants us to think he’s well-respected?
It would be risible if it wasn’t so damaging for the UK’s reputation in the world.
The Polish prime minister said Warsaw did not “see eye to eye” with the UK over plans to restrict access to in-work benefits.
In a sign of the deep unease in eastern Europe at the proposed restrictions, Beata Szydlo warned David Cameron that the “basic principles” of the EU’s rules on freedom of movement must be respected.
Cameron has agreed to delay the final round of negotiations until the next EU summit in February after Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, said EU leaders had failed to agree to the plan to ban EU migrants from claiming in-work benefits for four years.
Poland and other eastern European countries, whose citizens would be hit harder than citizens from wealthier member states, believe the ban breaks the EU’s laws on discrimination.
The Polish prime minister warned Cameron not to infringe the EU’s rules on free movement and said she had raised concerns about the UK’s proposals on “the welfare system and child benefits”.
In addition to the proposed ban on in-work benefits, the UK is attempting to ban EU migrants working in the UK from sending back child benefit for children at home.
The ban on in-work benefits would require a treaty change because EU citizens are entitled to be treated in the same way as UK citizens in the workplace, including topups to their wages through tax credits. Szydlo, who became prime minister last month, said: “There are also discussions and issues about which we do not see eye to eye today.”
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