Conservatives oppose plan for EU "social police"

25-Nov-2013 @ 11:0

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Conservative MEPs have vowed to fight plans to give the European Union a supervisory role over a range of social issues in member states.

The proposals would see the creation a so-called Social Scoreboard, giving Brussels licence to meddle in matters such as poverty-levels, health care, benefits payments and housing policy in individual member states.

Tory MEPs voted against the plan but it was approved by a majority of the Parliament sitting in Strasbourg on Thursday. Now an analysis of the voting shows that the motion was passed with the support of British Labour and Liberal Democrat MEPs.

Under the title "Social Dimensions of the European Monetary Union", the report by French Socialist MEP Pervenche Beres seeks to tresat perceived social imbalances on the same footing as economic indicators such as gross domestic product or national debt

It calls for the Social Scoreboard to score member states on measures such as child-poverty levels, access to healthcare, homelessness and on a so-called decent-work index.

Tellingly, although the report is presented in the context of the single currency, there is no clause exempting countries outside the Eurozone, such as the United Kingdom.

The text also makes references to a European Unemployment Benefit Scheme, suggesting a clear ambition for Brussels to control benefits payments across Europe.

Anthea McIntyre MEP, Conservative spokesman on employment and social affairs, said: "Clearly this is the Parliament manoeuvring to create a role for the EU as Europe's social conscience.

"Worse than that, they want to appropriate powers to supervise and intervene over the way member states deal with social problems.They want to set themselves up as the social police.

"Nobody is saying poverty, ill health and homelessness are not real problems in need of real solutions. What we are saying is that individual states and governments must be allowed to address them as they see fit, not according to a set of rules set down in Brussels.

"Sadly, my Labour and Liberal colleagues appear to think British voters are not responsible or compassionate enough to decide for themselves how to respond."

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