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Stigmatisation of EU mobile citizens: a ticking time bomb for the European project. EPC Commentary, 24 January 2014

Ghimis, Andreia and Lazarowicz, Alex and Pascouau, Yves (2014) Stigmatisation of EU mobile citizens: a ticking time bomb for the European project. EPC Commentary, 24 January 2014. [Policy Paper]

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    The 2013 European Year of Citizens was profoundly marked by escalating attacks against one of the EU’s major achievement for EU citizens: freedom of movement. In April 2013, Home Affairs Ministers from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK were party to a letter claiming that “a significant number of new immigrants draw social assistance in the host countries, frequently without genuine entitlement, burdening host societies’ social welfare systems”. This letter laid the groundwork for a “battle plan”, presented by David Cameron in November, which aimed to make the free movement of persons “less free” and put forward the idea of capping “EU migration”. Furthermore, in December, the German conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) took up a similar petty political discourse. After the end of the transitional period for Romania and Bulgaria on 1 January 2014, the debate continues with Chuka Umunna (British Labour Party) proposing to restrict the freedom of movement to highly skilled EU citizens and to citizens in possession of a firm job offer. Alongside this, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel announced the formation of a committee to investigate “poverty migration” in Germany. This wave of resentment has been more recently followed by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron, expressing his intention to re-negotiate EU law in order to be able to withdraw child benefits from EU citizens working in the UK, citing Polish citizens working in the UK as an example. Seeing this as a stigmatisation of the Polish population, the Polish foreign minister, Radosław Sikorski, qualified Cameron’s discourse as “unacceptable”. The debate over limiting freedom of movement has continuously escalated and reached a worrying level. With the EP elections approaching in May 2014, this debate is likely to become worse.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > Third Pillar/JHA/PJCC/AFSJ > free movement/border control
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > European Policy Centre > Commentary
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2014 14:53
    Number of Pages: 2
    Last Modified: 22 Oct 2014 14:53

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