Wednesday

19th Jun 2019

Rutte: EU would retaliate against post-Brexit immigration laws

  • The mildly eurosceptic Rutte (r) is a political ally of Cameron (Photo: The Council of the European Union)

If the United Kingdom left the EU and installed tougher immigration laws, European countries would respond with tit-for-tat rules for British citizens, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday (1 June).

“It will immediately mean that we will get this race to the bottom, that it will move against the interests of the population,” Rutte told the BBC in an interview, saying it would be “impossible” for EU countries not to retaliate.

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  • Boris Johnson (r) wants the UK to leave the EU (Photo: Prime minister's office)

His comments follow a proposal by two prominent Vote Leave campaigners, UK justice minister Michael Gove and former London mayor Boris Johnson.

Gove and Johnson said that after a Brexit, the UK should introduce an Australia-style points system for immigration.

EU citizens who want to move to the UK, would then be assessed based on their skills, they said in a statement published earlier on Wednesday.

“The automatic right of all EU citizens to come to live and work in the UK will end, as will EU control over vital aspects of our social security system. EU citizens will be subject to legislation made by those we elect in Westminster, not in Brussels,” the text said.

It was also signed by employment minister Priti Patel and Labour MP Gisela Stuart.

The 23 June EU referendum has seen a split within the ruling Conservative government, whose prime minister David Cameron is calling on citizens to vote Remain.

The pragmatic and mildly eurosceptic Rutte, who as prime minister of the Netherlands chairs the European Union until 30 June, is a close ally of Cameron.

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