Government can’t stop EU welfare payments

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UK passport office

This morning David Cameron again trails the ‘renegotiation’ line, reacting to concerns that come January 2014 hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians and Romanians will head to Britain as transition controls expire.

He has spoken of limiting the benefits of those coming to the UK under EU expansion.

If the Prime Minister is to limit the benefit and welfare rights of EU migrants, he is in for an expensive and costly legal battle.

Since the Lisbon Treaty came into force, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights has been given legal force.

Article 34 states that all EU citizens are eligible for social security and welfare provision in member states.

So for the Prime Minister to limit welfare rights for some, whilst giving welfare rights to other EU migrants, one could arguably say that the government will be in breach of the Charter.

This is yet another self-made problem for the government. Had they followed through with their ‘cast iron’ commitment to a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, then a British rejection may have derailed it and the government would be free to decide who gets welfare payments.

But they didn’t and as Community law takes precedence, they’re bound to do what the treaties and the European Court of Justice says.

Clearly the only way to safeguard our borders and for our government to decide who gets what welfare payments, we must leave the EU.

Image: Flickr

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