Cameron's Crackdown on Bulgarians, Romanians Fails to Appease His Govt

Bulgaria in EU | December 2, 2013, Monday // 11:02|  views

UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo by EPA/BGNES

David Cameron's proposal for a clampdown on the so-called social benefit tourists from Bulgaria and Romania has left his ministers unsatisfied, local reports say.

A minister has joined anonymous government aides to back Tory demands for a ban on Romanian and Bulgarian migrants

Kris Hopkins, the housing and local government minister, defended Conservative backbenchers who are calling for the current border controls on migrants from the two countries to be extended until 2019.

The restrictions will be lifted in January.

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, he said it was the “democratic right” of the MPs to demand that the government defies the European Union, adding: "I don't disagree with them."

Some residents in his Keighley constituency voted for the British National Party at previous elections because Labor had failed to tackle immigration, he said.

The Coalition must ensure that “the far right and extremists don’t have any traction” with voters. “Doing that means that we need to take sensible and robust positions around migration and how we actually address that,” he said.

“That’s why we should never shy away from some of the difficult conversations we need to have around migration."

Hopkins backed the Prime Minister’s call for a sweeping review of the EU’s free movement rules, which allow citizens to travel to work and live in any other EU country.

“I don’t think we should be shy as a nation of making sure that we are robust with our European colleagues if they push back on these issues.”

Hopkins said the government should be urging Romanians and Bulgarians to “think before you travel”.

“What is available to you as an individual citizen to come here? Have you got a job to be able to make an economic contribution to our country? I think those are really important challenges that we should put in place.”

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Tags: Vilnius, Eastern Partnership Summit, European Commission, benefit tourism, immigrants, Romanians, Cameron, David, UK, Bulgarians


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