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Freedom Of Movement In EU And UK's Position

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Par   •  13 Avril 2014  •  834 Mots (4 Pages)  •  356 Vues

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Freedom of Movement in EU

One of the Four Freedoms of the European Union is the right to free movement of people, especially the workers. EU nationals have the right to move freely within its internal borders, which has been guaranteed by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the Directive 2004/38/EC. Any EU citizen can look for a job in another EU country, reside there and enjoy certain social benefits. This right is extended not only to the workers, but to their family members. The establishment of Schengen Area has been a significant step towards ensuring free movement, which abolished internal border checks and framed common rules for external border control. All EU citizens may enter the Schengen area merely by showing an identity card or passport.

Critical analysis of the Position of UK

UK’s position is quite extraordinary, it has opted-out from four EU treaties, including the Schengen Agreement. But still it has signed the Freedom of Movement Directive 2004/38/EC, which allows citizens of the UK to live and work in other EU countries and citizens of most other EU countries to live and work in the UK without any restrictions. UK has witnessed a great increase in its migrant population, in comparison to the emigrants leaving UK to other EU nations. The influx has increased especially after the EU accession of 8 countries in 2004. UK currently maintains entry restrictions to Romania and Bulgaria, which are facing severe poverty and unemployment problems. The restriction is to be lifted by 2014 and UK is apprehensive of its already mounting unemployment rate and the burden of social benefits that they would claim. The situation has been aggravating for the entire Europe with the Arab Spring in 2011 resulting into millions of migrants flowing in from the North Africa. It is viewed that the continued influx of migrants would lead to serious disturbances to the labour market in UK.

The main concern for UK is the problems of increased non-UK work force, vis-à-vis the need to ensure the job security of its own nationals. Also, UK is known to suffer from xenophobia, which seems to be moving from a perfectly reasonable desire to prevent unregulated exploitation of immigration rules to something unilateral. Home Secretary Theresa May suggested in 2012 that UK was considering “contingency plans” to deal with increased immigration from the EU in case the financial crisis aggravates and the Eurozone collapses. Further, David Cameron’s speech in 2013 and his policy attracted much criticism from eminent leaders in the EU. UK needs to think carefully before imposing any restriction on the free movement. Such a move could result in reciprocal restrictions on UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU and the export of services from the UK, an important sector of the country’s economy.

Also, the new Schengen rules proposed by the European Commission is under much controversies, which puts forth “temporary reintroduction” of limited border controls under very exceptional circumstances, such as where a part of the external border comes under heavy unexpected pressure.

The free movement of people, being one of the Four Pillars of EU is quintessential for attaining the aim of complete integration of Europe. However this right still rests on the fragile

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