The British proposal to allow European Union member countries to limit the social benifits of migrant workers has caused some concern for the Polish leadership. Poland wishes to see the details of the proposal before accepting the UK-EU deal.
Reuters reports that Poland wishes to view the details of an EU proposal by Britain, which contains an “emergency brake” plan that would allow countries to limit the welfare and social benefits of working migrants in EU countries. This is primarily due to the fact that Poland is the biggest supplier of migrant labor to the UK. To this effect, Poland is expressing concerns over the proposal, due to the possibility of discrimination to its citizens. Despite this,
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council and former Prime Minister of Poland, proposed a plan which seeks to address a British push for EU reform to stem migration and to boost British sovereignty. This was mainly due to concerns of migrants overwhelming the welfare system of Brtain, as well as other countries, and was modified from the initial proposals of Prime Minister David Cameron. Part of the “emergency brake” measures would supposedly give countries the power to limit in-work benefits of working migrants for up to four years, but only if the host country is deemed under “exceptional” strain from immigration. This is to provide the host countries measures to avoid any negative effect between the host country and the countries the migrants originated from.
The Irish Times reports that the proposal was the result of several months of backroom negotiations and legal discussion. The proposal was originally prompted by Britain’s decision to hold a referendum on its EU membership by the end of 2017, which would determine whether Britain would be leaving or staying in the bloc.
The plan, however, is not without its critics, though not from the migrants that will be affected by it. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that critics have found the plan to be “weak” and the pledges to be “watered down”. The deal was originally proposed to instate a ban on benefits received by migrants, but was changed to allow migrants “gradually increasing access” to social benefits. Public opinion on whether Britain should stay in EU or leave is similarly critical of this action, with much of the population voting to leave, Mr. Cameron’s campaign to remain in the bloc.
EU leaders are due to discuss the proposal at a summit on Feb. 18-19, but talks will continue in the coming days. Prime Minister Cameron will be flying Denmark and Poland to secure backing this Friday, and is expected to meet Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Feb. 12.