Saturday

24th Feb 2018

EU free movement must be curbed, UK says

  • Szydlo (r) to May (l): It is important both for Britain and the EU that freedom of movement is saved. (Photo: premier.gov.pl)

British leader Theresa May has said free movement of EU workers to Britain cannot continue as in the past, while visiting Slovakia and Poland on Thursday (28 July).

“It’s a very clear message that has come from the vote of the British people - they don’t want freedom of movement to be continued in the same way as in the past, they want some level of control”, she told press in Warsaw, referring to the British referendum, in June, on leaving the EU.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

She had said the same line word for word in Bratislava earlier the same day, while adding that she would “deliver that as part of future negotiations [with the EU], as well as the best possible deal on goods and services”.

The Polish prime minister, Beata Szydlo, said “freedom of movement is likely to be the most important part of the negotiations between both parties”.

“It will not be easy. But I think both for Britain and the EU it is very important that this issue - one of the four freedoms of the internal market - is saved”.

The Slovak PM, Robert Fico, spoke less firmly in Bratislava.

He said the “perception British voters have” of EU migration was “slightly different to how we perceive migration on the continent”. He also asked May to “dedicate a special level of attention to Slovak nationals … who currently work in the EU”.

Some 800,000 Poles have settled in the UK since Britain opened up its labour market in 2004. About 90,000 Slovaks have made the move.

May said that Britain and Slovakia also had strong trade ties, noting that British car maker Jaguar Land Rover and retailer Tesco had major investments in the country.

She said the UK is Poland’s second biggest trading partner and that the UK exports £3 billion (€3.57 billion) of goods to Poland each year.

May also said in both capitals that the rights of EU citizens in Britain will not be affected until the UK formally leaves the EU.

She said that they will be welcome to stay after the UK leaves so long as the rights of British people living in the EU are also guaranteed.

She said that Fico at their lunch had backed the principle of “reciprocity”.

Nato allies

May praised the contribution of Slovak and Polish migrants to British society and, in Warsaw, recalled the fact that Polish pilots fought alongside the British air force in World War II.

“We condemned shameful and despicable attacks against on Polish communities and others in the wake of the referendum result”, she said.

“Hate crime of any kind detected against any community, race or religion has absolutely no place in British society”.

The British leader promised to continue to defend Nato’s eastern allies, amid plans to post hundreds of British soldiers to Estonia to deter Russian aggression.

Speaking in Bratislava, she recalled that the UK recently voted to renew its nuclear deterrent and that she would be ready to use it if need be.

She said that Britain saw eye to eye with Slovakia and Poland on the need to control the inflow of refugees and economic migrants to Europe.

“The EU’s collective approach in the eastern Mediterranean has delivered a significant reduction in the numbers arriving on that route. It shows that returning illegal economic migrants to where they come from does have a deterrent effect”, she said in Slovakia.

Redesign a new project

She urged Turkey, which is taking back irregular migrants from Greece, to respect human rights in its post-coup crackdown.

But she also said that “it is vital that this practical work [on migration] continues”.

Szydlo and Fico, both of whom want the EU to slow down integration and for EU institutions to hand back some powers to capitals, said the Brexit vote should lead to EU reforms.

The Polish leader said the EU needed to “listen to its citizens” and to “repair” itself.

Fico, who will host a summit on EU reform in mid-September as part of Slovakia’s EU presidency, said: “This is an opportunity for both sides to reimagine and redesign a new project of mutual relations, a project that will be equally attractive both to the citizens of the United Kingdom and the European Union”.

UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit

Britain wants to negotiate with Brussels the end date of the Brexit transition period - without saying what their preferred end date would be. The UK's position paper disagrees with the EU on other key points too.

Barnier warns UK Brexit transition period 'not a given'

After one of the tensest week so far in Brexit talks, 'substantial' disagreements remain between the UK and the EU over transition, with Michel Barnier insisting London needs to decide on the future relationship and Ireland for Brexit to happen.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  3. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  4. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  5. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  8. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  10. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  11. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  12. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?