EU referendum: Boris Johnson calls on David Cameron to seek Danish-style opt-out to win EU migrant benefit reforms

Denmark has an opt-out enshrined in its membership that gives it the right to force anyone wanting to buy property to be a resident in the country for at least five years

Matt Dathan
Online political reporter
Monday 14 December 2015 10:02
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Boris Johnson has been urged to lead the campaign to leave the EU
Boris Johnson has been urged to lead the campaign to leave the EU

Boris Johnson has called on David Cameron to seek a Danish-style opt-out of European Union rules so he can push through his plan to block benefits going to EU migrants.

The Prime Minister has faced strong opposition to his plan to make migrant workers wait four years before they can claim in-work benefits such as tax credits, and reports over the weekend suggested he was prepared to drop the proposals in exchange for other measures to reduce immigration to the UK.

But on Monday the Mayor of London urged Mr Cameron to stand firm on his demands and pointed to the special rules afforded to Denmark over property rules.

Denmark has an opt-out enshrined in its membership that gives it the right to force anyone wanting to buy property to be a resident in the country for at least five years, which prevents Danish homes being bought up by rich holidaymakers from neighbouring countries.

In his weekly Daily Telegraph column Mr Johnson warned EU leaders that they were "radically and dangerously misreading" Mr Cameron by thinking he wants to stay in the EU at "any price" and urged them to listen to his proposals on restricting migrants' access to benefits or risk Britain quitting the EU.

“The PM’s suggestion was modest, and sensible," Mr Johnson wrote. "It has been recklessly disregarded. This country could have a viable and exciting future outside the present EU arrangements.

“If we are going to stay, we need reform; and if the Danes can have their special circumstances recognised, so can Britain.”

Downing Street insisted it was "simply not true" that Mr Cameron had abandoned his plan to impose a waiting list on EU migrant workers claiming benefits and insisted the plans would be on the negotiating table when EU leaders meet at a key summit on Thursday.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: “He is open to different ways of dealing with this issue - but they must deliver on the objective set out in the Conservative manifesto on controlling migration from the EU."

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