Thursday

27th Jun 2019

Poland vows to veto British changes to EU migration rules

  • Warsaw wades in on the British immigration debate (Photo: metaphox)

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Tuesday (7 January) vowed to block any British changes to EU laws that would prevent migrant workers from having access to welfare benefits.

"If anyone, whether it is premier Cameron or anyone else, will want to change the European treaty to make this possible, Poland will veto it, today, tomorrow and forever," Tusk told reporters in Warsaw.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

He acknowledged that Britain can change its national rules on migrant workers to prevent abuses.

"But it can't apply to just one national group. It must apply to all potential beneficiaries," Tusk said.

"No one has the right to single out Poles as a special group that is abusing or taking advantage," he added.

On Sunday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the EU treaties should be changed to allow member states to withhold child allowances and other social benefits for workers from other member states.

He singled out Poles as a large group of beneficiaries and said it had been a "monumental mistake" for Britain to open its doors in 2004 to migrant workers from central and eastern Europe, who then cashed in and sent the social benefits back home.

Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski retorted that Polish immigrants contributed "twice as much" to the British state than they claimed.

"If the British want a less-generous welfare system then they have the right to introduce that – but any changes should apply to all people living and working in the UK," he said Monday.

Cameron's rhetoric has intensified over the past few weeks ahead of 1 January when national restrictions for workers from Romania and Bulgaria had to be lifted, in line with EU law.

British tabloids carried several articles predicting a "flood" of Romanians and Bulgarians from the beginning of January.

A plane landing in London from Bucharest on 1 January was met by scores of reporters eager to count the new arrivals.

Of all Romanians who travelled that day, just one was truly a new migrant.

EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs

The EU parliament might allow an extra 24 hours for EU heads of government to first come up with the new EU leadership names. Meanwhile, EPP lead candidate Manfred Weber is meeting Angela Merkel and AKK in Berlin for backing.

News in Brief

  1. EU warns Turkey as 'Gezi Park' trials begin
  2. EU universities to share students, curricula
  3. Migrant rescue ship loses Human Rights Court appeal
  4. Denmark completes social democrat sweep of Nordics
  5. Johnson offers 'do or die' pledge on Brexit
  6. Weber indirectly attacks Macron in newspaper op-ed
  7. EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam
  8. EU funding of air traffic control 'largely unnecessary'

Merkel and Macron split over Weber presidency

EU heads of government have their first face-to-faces discussions after the European elections on who should lead the EU commission. They are unlikely to decide quickly - with the parliament also divided over the candidates.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  4. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  6. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  7. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  8. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  9. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate

Latest News

  1. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  2. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  3. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  4. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  5. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  6. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
  7. EU study: no evidence of 'East vs West' food discrimination
  8. Russia tried to stir up Irish troubles, US think tank says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us