EU Leaders Fear Cameron Will Push Hard on Migrant Workers Issue

UK Prime Minister David Cameron  See page for author [OGL (], via Wikimedia Commons

UK Prime Minister David Cameron See page for author [OGL (], via Wikimedia Commons

In general the European Union is happy with the re-election of David Cameron as the prime minister of the UK. There is one issue, however, that most of the countries of the EU, especially those of the east, hold as “sacrosanct;” that is the free movement rights of migrant workers across all of the countries of the EU.

“They cannot be touched,” said Peter Javorcík, Slovakia’s Europe minister.

Hungary’s EU minister agrees. Szaboles Takács said that freedom of movement for EU citizens is a “red line” that can’t be crossed, adding that it is one of the greatest achievements of the EU.

“We don’t like it when Hungarian workers are called migrants, they are EU citizens with the freedom to work in other European countries,” he said.

The countries are willing to discuss reforms, but not wholesale restrictions. Poland’s Europe minister, Rafal Trzaskowski,explained:

“We are ready to sit at the table and talk about what needs to be reformed, but when it comes to immigration, our red lines are well known.”

Cameron’s re-election sparked these strong reactions due to his previous hardline position on migration. In his election manifesto he promised to create a four-year waiting period for migrant workers who wish to receive UK benefits. British officials believe that this change would most likely require an EU treaty amendment, requiring unanimous approval from every one of the 28 EU member countries. Leaders from Eastern European states in the EU are categorically opposed to the establishment of a two-tiered system of worker’s rights which would end up being discriminatory against their citizens.

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