Friday

6th Aug 2021

UK's Labour party takes up anti-EU migrant stance

  • Labour leader Ed Miliband: A shift to the right? (Photo: labour.org.uk)

The UK's main opposition Labour Party on Tuesday (18 November) announced plans to crack down on EU migrants amid a heated debate on in the issue across the political spectrum.

Labour wants EU nationals in Britain to be entitled to out-of-work benefits only after two years.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The party also promised another 1,000 border guards should they win in the elections. Visiting Americans, Australians and Canadians would be charged £10 each to help cover the extra policing fees.

The move is seen as an attempt to woo voters as Labour and the governing Conservatives scramble to halt the steady advance of Ukip, the populist anti-immigrant and eurosceptic party headed by Nigel Farage.

The BBC reports Britain’s shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves, also wants to stop EU migrants from sending child benefits abroad.

Reeves outlined her plans on Mail Online, a right-wing tabloid, noting that the UK’s social security system “was never designed for the levels of migration we are now seeing”.

The clampdown proposals go beyond the plans set out by prime minister David Cameron who wants out-of-work EU nationals to prove they can find a job after six months on benefits or risk losing the security net.

Cameron is expected to flesh out his proposals in the next few weeks.

The battle to secure the anti-immigrant voter took off following an outcry against lifting all remaining labour restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians at the start of this year.

The debate has centred on allegations of abuse of the UK social system despite recent research that shows the arrivals paid €25 billion more in tax to the treasury than they received in welfare benefits.

But the public fears have seen Cameron threaten to restrict the free movement of people in a move widely condemned by Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel.

The German leader is reported to have said any such restriction would be a point of no return should the UK exit the EU in a possible 2017 referendum.

The domestic debate has taken on feverish pitch ahead of a key by-election in the UK on Thursday (20 November) with Ukip set to win the seat, according to the latest polls.

Meanwhile, the UK has granted more citizenships to migrants in 2012 than any other EU member state, according to the EU’s statistical office, Eurostat.

The UK granted 193,900 people citizenship, the equivalent of 23.7 percent of all new citizenships in the EU member states, followed by Germany (14.0%) and France (11.7%).

But when compared to population size, Luxembourg tops the list at 8.7 citizenships granted per 1,000 inhabitants, followed by Ireland at 5.5 and Sweden at 5.3. The UK is at 3.0.

MEPs to declare EU an LGBTI 'freedom zone'

The symbolic move is an attempt to buttress against right-wing governments' increased scapegoating of LGBTI people, particularly in Poland and Hungary.

News in Brief

  1. EU secures deal with Novavax for potential Covid-19 vaccine
  2. France fined €10m for failing to tackle air pollution
  3. Fire near Athens forces thousands to evacuate
  4. EU to Lebanon: 'deliver results' on Beirut blast probe
  5. Belarus opposition leader demands regime end
  6. Croatia's border-monitoring of migrant rights 'falls short'
  7. Court stops Austria's Afghan deportation, as conflict worsens
  8. 'Missing' Belarus exiles group chief found dead in Kyiv

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Italy seeks EU help on migrant boat arrivals
  2. WHO calls for vaccine-booster pause to help poor countries
  3. Romania selling on its jabs, despite low vaccination rates
  4. Cyprus' Varosha is Erdogan's canary in the coalmine
  5. Europe sees drop in Covid-19 cases
  6. Burkinis and 'soul caps' - policing Olympic women back in fashion
  7. Telegram groups lure migrant hopefuls to Lithuania
  8. Third-time lucky for one Syrian grandmother in Denmark

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us