According to this BBC article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35616768, the key points of David Cameron’s EU ‘deal’ is as follows:
- An “emergency brake” on migrants’ in-work benefits for four years when there are “exceptional” levels of migration. The UK will be able to operate the brake for seven years
- Child benefit for the children of EU migrants living overseas will now be paid at a rate based on the cost of living in their home country – applicable immediately for new arrivals and from 2020 for the 34,000 existing claimants
- The amending of EU treaties to state explicitly that references to the requirement to seek ever-closer union “do not apply to the United Kingdom”, meaning Britain “can never be forced into political integration”
- The ability for the UK to enact “an emergency safeguard” to protect the City of London, to stop UK firms being forced to relocate into Europe and to ensure British businesses do not face “discrimination” for being outside the eurozone
Let’s consider them one by one…
1. Emergency brake
An “emergency brake” on migrants’ in-work benefits for four years when there are “exceptional” levels of migration. The UK will be able to operate the brake for seven years
An “emergency brake”? What the heck does that even mean? There’s no brake: legal migrants will continue to receive benefits, for it will be unfair and unlawful to not give them the same rights as every other resident. And there’s certainly no emergency action going on!
More importantly, what has migration got to do with it? Unless in-work benefits is the primary driver for immigration from the EU, this point will have no effect. The truth is, immigration happens for all sorts of reasons, in-work benefits is hardly an important motivating factor, much less the primary driver for immigration. As an immigrant myself, I can tell you that I came to this country for:
- good educational opportunities
- good living conditions
- well-paying job opportunities
- good working conditions
- fair and free society
I don’t know a single immigrants who came to this country attracted by in-work benefits. We are attracted by job opportunities, working conditions, and living conditions.
Furthermore, the wording “exceptional” is subject to interpretation. Would it be 100,000 per year, or 300,000 per year, or a million per year? Who’s to decide what level counts as exceptional?
The deal proposes to cut ONLY in-work benefits. What about out-of-work benefits? The principle is that immigrants should not come to this country and immediately be eligible for help from the welfare system. This is not because the government shouldn’t help people in need; the reasoning is that the welfare budget for the nation is only meant to help when citizens fall on hard times. It is not meant to aid every international person in need; no country can afford to do that.
2. Overseas child benefits
Child benefit for the children of EU migrants living overseas will now be paid at a rate based on the cost of living in their home country – applicable immediately for new arrivals and from 2020 for the 34,000 existing claimants
It’s an interesting idea to link child benefits to the cost of living for the children, but putting this idea into action involves a lot more bureaucracy, requiring welfare claimants and providers to investigate and prove the existence and location of children, etc.
More importantly, I ask the question again: Why should any country be paying welfare to immigrants, much less their children living in another country? Why aren’t those countries helping their own citizens? And if they already are, doesn’t that mean that children of immigrants living in another country are eligible for double welfare payment? It just boggles the mind how state generosity has become so insane.
Immigrants of any sort must necessarily integrate into society. Part of integrating into society requires integrating into the economy, becoming part of the workforce, and participating in buying and selling. There is no point to immigration without integration. If there is no job, why are immigrants entering the country? I mean, immigration to any other country outside the EU requires proof that you have a job lined up. Surely it is a given that any responsible adult who wishes to move somewhere must first find some form of gainful employment in that area, even if it is starting your own business.
If richer EU nations like the UK and Germany are paying welfare benefits to migrants from anywhere in the EU, it is in effect subsidising the poorer countries, somewhat like how cities like London and Birmingham are subsidising the poorer regions of the country. But across international borders of sovereign countries, activities like this fall under the foreign aid budget. It is abnormal for the state welfare system to pay welfare benefits directly to individuals from different countries. So the fundamental premise appears to be that the EU should be a single nation-state. This is typical of EU overreaching and expansionist ambitions.
3. Ever-closer union
The amending of EU treaties to state explicitly that references to the requirement to seek ever-closer union “do not apply to the United Kingdom”, meaning Britain “can never be forced into political integration”
In article 2 of the treaty, “ever closer union of peoples” refers to the aim of the EU to bring the peoples of Europe closer together, in some utopian ambition of completely harmonious society. However, the EU has clearly failed this, for the establishment itself is causing rifts between the peoples of Europe. But never mind this for now, the point of the deal is that the UK is exempt from this article, then all that means is that the nation of the UK is not required to live harmoniously with the rest of the EU and the European peoples. Surely nobody wants that, not even those campaigning to leave the EU.
The exemption also states that the UK will “NEVER BE FORCED into political integration”, but that’s no exemption at all. In democratic nations, you cannot force integration if the people do not want it. In effect, nothing has changed with this exemption!
What’s more interesting is that exemption to this ever closer union does not exempt the UK from political union with the EU. Although the UK may not be forced into political union, there’s no stopping the EU from selling the idea of political union as an attractive one. And that’s exactly what they want to do. Currently with the Eurozone crisis there is a lot of hostility toward the EU, so Eurocrats are simply attempting to placate the masses with soothing platitudes that you will never be forced to integrate. Once the crisis is forgotten about, the drive to expand the reach and power of the EU will resume once again, and the gullible public would be sold by their misleading platitudes. Indeed, the phrase “can never be forced into political integration” is as much a guilty plea as any. It’s a confession that the EU is seeking political union.
4. Emergency safeguards
The ability for the UK to enact “an emergency safeguard” to protect the City of London, to stop UK firms being forced to relocate into Europe and to ensure British businesses do not face “discrimination” for being outside the eurozone
I cannot believe we are being sold the idea of “an emergency safeguard” to protect London and UK firms from being forced to relocate. In free market economies, no company relocates because they are ordered to by the government. Only totalitarian or socialist states do that. In the free market, companies relocate because they CHOOSE to. And governments can put into place policies that make certain business decisions such as the location of your company and very unattractive. This is what many businesses mean when they say they are ‘forced’ to relocate. If it is not profitable to run your business without relocating, the business is forced, by nature of basic economics to relocate. The government hasn’t forced them to do this, but they can certainly make it very difficult for them to not do this.
Whether or not British businesses face discrimination for being outside the Eurozone, is not up to the EU. It is up to individual businesses. Basically, this is yet another empty promise.
It is very clear to me that the key points of this deal is not worth the paper they are published on. They are certainly not worth the negotiations Cameron has been having with Donald Tusk. I suspect their ‘negotiations’ had nothing to do with securing a good deal for the UK, and far more to do with deciding how to sell non-deals to the gullible UK public.
If you’re convinced that these key points of Cameron’s EU deal is a good change for the UK, then I’m afraid you’re very easily impressed. Or maybe you’ve just already decided that membership of the EU is a necessity.