David Cameron is ready to consider a “plan B” to curb EU migration to the UK, which would involve strict new limits on benefit payments to out-of-work migrants rather than those in jobs, as he seeks to cobble together a new deal for Britain in Europe.
The prime minister will take centre stage at a working dinner with European leaders in Brussels on Thursday evening, where he will say that concerns about migration are a major issue for the British people and that they need addressing before an in/out referendum to be held by the end of 2017.
He is expected to abandon his protracted battle for treaty changes – which would ban EU migrants who are in work from receiving benefits until they have been in employment in the UK for four years – and turn his attention to other measures to reduce the “pull factors” that attract EU migrants to the UK.
Government sources confirmed Cameron’s switch to a more flexible approach, saying that “what matters most is to fix the problems, not the precise form of the arrangements”.
The prime minister’s plan to curb in-work benefits has met a wall of opposition from other EU governments, with many saying they would discriminate against workers from other member nations and cut directly across Europe’s commitment to free movement of labour.
But with other European leaders desperate for the UK not to leave the EU, and determined to help Cameron put together a package he can sell at home as substantial, the plan B option, involving curbs on out-of-work migrants, is emerging as a potential deal saver. Successive Polish governments have said that while the four-year ban on in-work benefits is a “red line” for them, there is scope to limit benefits for those who do not have a job, such as first-time EU job-seekers, and those who have lost a job after a short period of employment.
Pour lire la suite : http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/dec/13/david-cameron-curb-migration-target-jobless-uk