UK immigration reform approach to EU slapped down

14 Jan 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Britain's requests to the European Union to amend UK immigration have been rejected by the European Parliament President, Martin Shulz.

Brussels declared that the UK's attempts to curb immigration from within the EU will be blocked, asserting that the freedom of movement rules are completely non-negotiable. The president added that he's keen to see Britain shape policy for the union, but noted that he would like to see Prime Minister David Cameron making his case for reform “from within the EU, rather than with one hand on the escape hatch”

“As to the debate on free movement,” Schulz confirmed, “this is happening not only in the UK but across many member states. The principle of free movement of people has been one of the greatest successes the EU has, it is a fundamental principle and it's not up for negotiation any more than renegotiating the principle of the free movement of goods, services or capital."

EU immigration has been the topic of much debate recently after the barriers on employment for Bulgarians and Romanians were removed at the beginning of 2014. However, despite concern that the country would be 'flooded' with new workers that could threaten the fragile jobs market recovery, Romania's ambassador, Ion Jinga, has said that only a handful of Romanians have arrived in the first two weeks of the year.

Jinga said in an article to The Telegraph's online division that only 24 Romanians have arrived since the start of 2014. He added that in this time the embassy has received enquiries from ten British companies looking to hire Romanians. The Netherlands, which lifted the restrictions at the same time as the UK, reported similar figures, suggesting that the forecast 'influx' of new immigrants had not materialised.