Juncker in warning to Cameron: Freedom of movement within the EU is non-negotiable

The European Commission's President-elect, Jean-Claude Juncker, said they will not change EU rules

Natasha Culzac
Wednesday 22 October 2014 23:04
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Jean-Claude Juncker, the President-elect of the European Commission, says freedom of movement within the EU is non-negotiable
Jean-Claude Juncker, the President-elect of the European Commission, says freedom of movement within the EU is non-negotiable

The European Commission’s new chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, has said that he will not waver on the cornerstone of EU policy which allows for freedom of movement.

It is a stern warning to Prime Minister David Cameron, who is under pressure by factions in his party to intensify pressure on Eurocrats to approve the renegotiation of Britain’s terms of EU membership.

In a vote today at the European Parliament, MEPs voted by 423 votes to 209 to support the new Commission headed by Mr Juncker.

This means Mr Juncker and his team of commissioners can now commence their five-year term on 1 November, drafting EU laws and enforcing rules – however nine Conservative Party members abstained from the vote, six voted for and three voted against.

Mr Juncker told journalists after the vote that he is “not willing to compromise” on freedom of movement for migrants within the EU, and according to the Telegraph, accused Mr Cameron's party of trying to “destroy” this key rule.

Mr Cameron has promised the British electorate a referendum on the country’s membership within the EU in 2017, should the Conservatives win power in the next General Election.

Mr Juncker added to the BBC: “We have a treaty. Freedom of movement since the Fifties is the basic principle of the European way of co-operating. These rules will not be changed.

“What can be changed? The national rules against abuses. There are abuses as far as freedom of movement is concerned but we cannot change European rules.”

Two polls today found that Britons would like the agreement between the UK and the EU significantly altered.

In one, by IpsosMori, voters said that the future relationship should be “without political links”, despite 56 per cent saying that they would vote to stay within the EU if a referendum was offered today.

Another poll, by YouGov but commissioned by The Times, found that people would vote to leave the EU if no change was made regarding the relationship, however 55 per cent would vote to stay in if “major” changes were made.

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