Polish minister warns David Cameron that proposed migrant welfare reforms will cross a 'red line'

Rafal Trzaskowski said Poland would block the plans as they currently stand

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The Independent Online

A Polish politician has warned Prime Minster David Cameron that Poland would firmly oppose plans to curb the amount of benefits paid to European migrants entering the UK.

Rafal Trzaskowski said it was an “absolute red line” for his government that there is no discrimination in the welfare system on grounds of nationality – and said Warsaw would block the measures unless they applied to Britons as well.

The deputy foreign minister said the plans to stop migrants from claiming benefits for the first four years after they arrive in Britain as well as kick out those who fail to find work after six months would go against all existing laws and insisted Poland would oppose the plans as they currently stand.

Mr Cameron has admitted that his proposals would require treaty change but would need support from across the EU to push through such measures.

Mr Trzaskowski told BBC Newsnight: “If one wants to get away with all the benefits that are enshrined in the regulation of EU and treat immigrants from EU differently, and for example only pay benefits after four years of their stay in Britain or extradite people who can't find work, that would be against all the existing laws of the EU and obviously that would be a red line for us.”

“The Polish government is quite ready to talk about abuses of existing systems, sham marriages, extraditing criminals and so forth.

“But to be truthful this is not the problem, it is marginal. When it comes to changing the rules in the EU, when it comes to social support and so forth, when it comes to undermining the existing laws, obviously we are going to react quite strongly and we are going to be against.

“But the most important thing is that David Cameron wants to talk about it and doesn't want to change policies unilaterally.”

He added: “This is an absolute red line, that there is no discrimination on grounds of nationality. If Britain were to change its policy, for example, into contributory system in which everyone has to pay in to get some money from the system we then could talk about changes if they were absolutely non-discriminatory.”

 

Mr Cameron has indicated that he will propose Britain leaving the European Union if other member states do not support tough new proposals to cut immigration.

In his long-awaited speech last Friday, the Prime Minister emphasised the benefits to Britain of EU membership, insisting he believed he could succeed in wresting powers back to this country from Brussels - but he warned that he will “rule nothing out” if other countries turn a deaf ear to British concerns.

And the Prime Minister disappointed Eurosceptic Tories by stopping short of proposing a cap on European migration, which had been floated in the run-up to the speech.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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