Court ruling strengthens Cameron's hand

15-Sep-2015 @ 12:00

Anthea McIntyre Anthea McIntyre

Amjad Bashir Amjad Bashir

Amjad Bashir Amjad Bashir

A European court ruling seen as a boost to Britain's renegotiation strategy has been upheld.

The European Court of Justice confirmed today that a country can withhold certain benefits from migrants if they travel from another EU country without a job – even if they have worked there previously.

The confirmation was welcomed by Conservative MEPs. Employment spokesman Anthea McIntyre MEP said: "This is a major endorsement of our stance on benefit tourism and our views on free movement. Increasingly the rest of Europe is seeing things our way. It bodes well for one of our key areas of renegotiation."

Today's judgement upholds the so-called "Dano" judgement on Germany's application of benefit rules for EU migrants. This supported Berlin's stance in denying basic benefits to EU migrants who arrived with no intention of finding work.

The Court further ruled that it is legal to withhold benefits even if the migrant has previously worked in the host state, and though the same benefits would be granted to nationals in the same situation.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, said: "Previously most EU case law has strongly opposed any differentiation between EU migrants and nationals.

"I believe this is a sign that the pendulum is swinging our way. There is a clear view that freedom of movement to work is not the same a freedom to claim benefits.

"We have no problem with people coming to Britain to work and contribute to society. But people do not want to see our welfare system abused – and that is one of the areas the Prime Minister has a close eye upon in these negotiations.

"I believe this ruling strengthens his hand."

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