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Tuesday, 9th February 2016

Unlocking the EU Free Movement Debate

Source: Institute for Public Policy Research (UK)

From Reforming Free Movement:

The government is currently renegotiating the UK’s relationship with the EU, ahead of a referendum on the UK’s membership to be held by the end of 2017. In November, the prime minister set out his reform priorities in a letter to European Council president Donald Tusk...

The options for reforming free movement are limited. Some have proposed placing quotas on the number of people that come to the UK from other EU member states. This would enable the government to bring down EU migration, but it would also mean directly curtailing free movement rights. Such a change would not be countenanced by other EU member states, many of whom perceive the free movement of people as the centrepiece of the EU’s achievements. But without quotas or similar restrictions, any reform will struggle to bring down EU migration to the degree necessary to meet the government’s net migration target.

Recognising this challenge, the prime minister has proposed an alternative change to free movement: banning in-work benefits and social housing for EU migrants until they have lived and worked in the UK for four years. This is meant to address a ‘pull factor’ that attracts EU migrants to the UK. A benefit ban of this kind will, according to the government, bring down EU migration without the need for actual restrictions on migration flows.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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