David Cameron to lobby for support on migration restrictions at EU summit in Lithuania - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

David Cameron to lobby for support on migration restrictions at EU summit in Lithuania

PM sets out moves to overhaul welfare rules, including stopping new EU arrivals from receiving out-of-work benefits

Deputy Political Editor

David Cameron’s emergency response to fears of a looming influx of Romanians and Bulgarians came under fire in Brussels on Wednesday – but failed to placate Tory backbench critics who demanded more draconian restrictions.

The Prime Minister set out moves to overhaul welfare rules, including stopping new EU arrivals from receiving out-of-work benefits for their first three months in Britain and making it harder for them to qualify for state support.

He also pledged that rough sleepers from the EU would be deported and banned from returning to Britain within 12 months.

The moves follow concerns fuelled by the UK Independence Party, and shared by many on the Tory right, that tens of thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians would head to Britain after restrictions on working in the UK are lifted on 1 January 2014.

Mr Cameron said the clampdown would send a clear signal to potential migrants that Britain was not a “soft touch”.

But his proposals were condemned as an “unfortunate over-reaction” by Laszlo Andor, the European Employment Commissioner, who warned that the move risked “presenting the UK as the kind of nasty country in the European Union”.

Viviane Reding, the Justice Commissioner, said she did not understand the “political logic” of the moves, given that the Government has been a keen supporter of EU enlargement and British citizens take full advantage of freedom of movement, setting up homes and businesses overseas. “Free movement is a fundamental pillar of the single market and the single market is something Britain has signed up to and is very dear to the heart of Great Britain,” she said.

Britain insisted the plans were legally water-tight within EU law, although the European Commission said it would reserve judgement until it had studied the proposals in greater detail.

The Government was buoyed up last night by the disclosure that the new governing coalition formed by Angela Merkel in Germany had committed itself to “reducing incentives for migration” by amending its domestic laws on welfare. Downing Street said the development proved that Mr Cameron’s initiative was gaining wide support across the EU.

President François Hollande’s government in France also called for tighter restrictions on EU migrants and Britain says its stance is also being backed by the Netherlands and Austria.

At an EU summit in Lithuania today, Mr Cameron will lobby other leaders for their support in limiting the right to freedom of movement, to prevent huge shifts of population across the union in future.

His plans were not enough to stop a succession of Conservative MPs calling for controls on Romanian and Bulgarian migrants to be extended for another five years.

Any such move would fall foul of courts both in Britain and Europe, but Eurosceptics urged ministers to defy EU law and maintain the controls. More than 40 Tory MPs have publicly backed the move.

Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering, said: “My constituents take the view that this country is full and we should not open our borders to Romania and Bulgaria.

“Yes, this country will be taken to court, but it will be a signal of firm intent about our renegotiation of the EU treaties and by the time it comes to court hopefully we will have had our referendum and left this wretched organisation altogether.”

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, claimed last night that Baroness Thatcher would have supported Britain remaining in the EU if she were still in office.

“I don’t think she would pull out of the single market that she helped to create,” he argued in the third Margaret Thatcher lecture.

“I think she would recognise there is a chance to get a better deal. It’s time to sort out the immigration system so that we end the madness.”

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week