British Prime Minister David Cameron will raise the prospect of Britain leaving the European Union if fellow leaders won’t let him curb access to benefits for EU migrants, Bloomberg reported.
In a speech Friday, the prime minister will demand that Europeans arriving in Britain receive no welfare payments or state housing until they’ve been resident for four years.
He’ll say they shouldn’t receive unemployment benefits and should be removed from the country if they don’t find work within six months, extracts of his speech released by his office indicate.
Cameron is trying to counter the rise of the anti-EU UK Independence Party.
In 2013, he promised a renegotiation of Britain’s EU membership and then a referendum on leaving.
With UKIP still gaining ground and now holding two seats in Parliament, he’ll say that immigration, the focus of UKIP’s platform, will be a “key part” of that negotiation.
“If I succeed, I will, as I have said, campaign to keep this country in a reformed EU,” Cameron will say.
“If our concerns fall on deaf ears and we cannot put our relationship with the EU on a better footing, then of course I rule nothing out.”
The extracts contain no mention of a target for net migration, a reflection of the blow to Cameron’s credibility from his failure to keep a pledge made before the 2010 election to reduce it to “tens of thousands” a year.
He repeated it in 2011, saying: “No ifs. No buts. It’s a promise we are keeping.”
Home Secretary Theresa May said this week the goal is “unlikely” to be met.
In fact, net migration to Britain surged 43 percent in the year to June, the number of long-term arrivals exceeding people leaving the country by 260,000, the Office for National Statistics said Thursday.
UKIP argues that immigration can only be controlled by leaving the EU.
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