The EU deal – what does it mean for immigration and benefits?

suitcasesJonathan Portes, Principal Research Fellow at NIESR, and a Senior Fellow of UK in a Changing Europe, takes a closer look at David Cameron’s EU deal, and asks what impact it may have on immigration to the UK, free movement of EU citizens, and the contested issue of access to in work benefits in the UK.

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, wrote on 2 February to the members of the Council (EU Heads of Government) setting out his proposals for a “new settlement for the UK within the European Union”. What does the proposal mean for free movement of workers in the EU, immigration to the UK, and our in-work benefit system? My very quick (apologies in advance for any inaccuracies or oversimplifications) are as follows. Continue reading

David Cameron Needs a Vision for the Future of Europe

map-europe-carMatt Wood, Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sheffield, analyses David Cameron’s recent attempts at negotiating reform of the EU. As Cameron concentrates on the UK’s position within the EU, is he missing the opportunity to secure allies by ignoring how EU reform could benefit all member states in the future?

If David Cameron can’t convince the Polish Prime minister of the need for change in the EU, it’s fair to say he’s going to have trouble convincing many leaders at all of his renegotiation ‘package’. Beata Szydlo, Poland’s newly elected, arch-right wing premier, stated that she could not accept Cameron’s proposal to curb access to benefits for migrants within the EU, claiming that she did ‘not see eye to eye’ with the UK Prime Minister. One of the key reasons for the difficulties in renegotiation has been the lack of vision about a broader future for the EU, which has failed to bring on board otherwise agreeable partners. Here I’m going to suggest Britain’s renegotiations need to provoke a rethink of the whole landscape of the EU, beyond the ‘froth and nonsense’ of migrant in-work benefits, as one Tory Minister put it. Doing so may well be necessary for Cameron to secure the support he currently lacks for a renegotiation deal. Continue reading

Cameron – banning milk and cheese

door-green-closed-lockPablo Echenique is one of the five Podemos members elected to the European Parliament in 2014, and currently running for parliament in the upcoming Spanish general election. On Monday 26 October, he was scheduled to talk at the UCL European Institute, however the event had to be cancelled when he ran into difficulties at the UK Border. Here, he explains the full story…

Imagine a government that pursues the following reasoning: approximately 5% of the population suffer from lactose intolerance and some of them don’t know it. If you eat some cheese or drink some milk and you are one of these few people, you may become ill. Solution: completely ban the production and sale of milk and cheese or at least make it absurdly difficult, long and expensive. There you go. Problem solved!

Seems stupid? Well, tell that to David Cameron. This is exactly what his government has done regarding travelling to the UK for thousands of millions of people. Continue reading

Five minutes with Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol: “The UK already opts out of anything it dislikes; it could very well end up leaving the EU on an entirely flawed debate”

numbers-time-watch-whiteIn an interview with UCL’s Claudia Sternberg, Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol, Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Fellow at the University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School, discusses today’s EU referendum from the perspective of the last 50 years of the UK’s presence in EU.

In what ways is today’s EU referendum different from the June 1975 precedent?

The difference is that in 1974 the actual renegotiations started fairly quickly after British Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s re-election: he had tabled early on what he wanted to renegotiate. Today, we just know the fairly vague wish-list that David Cameron drew up. How this can materialise into a genuine ‘renegotiation’ process with all other EU member states is still a mystery today. Continue reading

Not in front of the MPs: Why can’t Parliament have a frank discussion about the EU?

Collier's_1921_Vol_7_Frontispiece_--_Parliament_Buildings,_LondonIn this post, Agata Gostyńska, research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, explains how Britain’s Parliament does a poor job of examining EU business—and proposes some simple reforms that would improve the way that it scrutinises European legislation.

The British prime minister, David Cameron, wants to make the EU more democratic. National parliamentarians, in his view, understand citizens’ concerns better than MEPs who deliberate in far-away Brussels and Strasbourg; national parliaments should therefore play a greater role in EU decision-making. However, Cameron’s argument would carry more weight if UK parliamentary scrutiny were improved. Continue reading