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Arguments against immigrant workforce restrictions in Britain

December 23rd, 2013

A centre-right legal analyst thinks the concerns motivating PM David Cameron are understandable, but as a member state of the European Union, the UK has to abide by the common rules.

Writing in Mos Maiorum, Beáta Bakó says she is surprised to find herself on the same platform as European Fundamental Rights Commissioner Viviane Redding (a staunch critic of the Hungarian government), but cannot help sharing the Commissioner’s views on the restrictions the UK is planning to impose on the immigrant EU workforce. She admits that as a first step those restrictions are fairly mild, with unemployment benefits denied for the first three months and only applicable for a maximum period of six. But further measures are in store, and legally speaking even the mild ones are unacceptable. The Hungarian Labour and Welfare Commissioner László Andor and Viviane Redding have both been scorned by Mr Cameron for criticising elected leaders when they themselves were selected, not elected. Bakó thinks, however, that they were right to maintain that European rules cannot be cherry-picked. The free movement of labour, of capital, of goods and of ideas are inseparable and if Great Britain intends to enjoy their upside, she must also resign herself to accepting their inconveniences. The United Kingdom, Bakó concludes, is free to leave the European Union (as she might as a result of a planned referendum), but while she is part of the Union she cannot disregard its rules.

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