British MPs want EU laws veto, Brussels slams UK on immigration
In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister and published by the Telegraph, 95 Tory MPs have demanded an amendment to legislation that would enable the British parliament to overturn whatever EU laws that would be deemed as contradicting the “vital national interests”.
“We would like you to consider adopting the ideas put forward by the European Scrutiny Committee… which would re-establish a national veto over current and future EU laws and enable Parliament to disapply EU legislation, where it is in our vital national interests to do so. This would transform the UK’s negotiating position in the EU,” the letter reads.
The veto proposal is a fresh sign of a growing divide between London and Brussels, which is only aggravated by the UK’s aspirations to reform EU law, particularly in terms of immigration. In his December article for the Financial Times, David Cameron spoke of new arrangements that would “slow full access to each others’ labor markets until we can be sure it will not cause vast migrations.”
Proposals to curb immigration inside the EU have caused uproar among the 27-member-states union.
The latest wave of criticism has been voiced by the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.
"The principle of free movement of people has been one of the greatest successes the EU has; it is a fundamental principle and it's not up for negotiation any more than renegotiating the principle of the free movement of goods, services or capital," Schultz said, as cited by The Guardian.
The head of the European Parliament made it clear he had nothing against considering the UK’s reform proposals, even though they come from a country pondering over its exit from the EU.
"I would rather see the UK making its case for reform from within the EU, rather than with one hand on the escape hatch,” the president said.
Earlier this week, another top European Union politician lashed out at Britain over its stance on immigration. Viviane Reding, vice president of the EU Commission, warned UK politicians against spreading “myths” about immigrants “stealing the jobs and stealing the social security and the health money.”
"The fact and figures, and we all know this, show it is simply not true and I do believe also that British industry has made it very clear, putting the figures on the table and showing that the GDP of Britain rose by 3-4 percent because of the input of these working Europeans who come to Great Britain," Reding said, during her Friday webchat on European citizenship.
Britons meanwhile appear to be more supportive of the government’s attempts to reduce immigration than of the EU’s vision of migrant inflow being a favorable thing. 77 percent of the UK population want to see the number of new arrivals to their country downsized, according to a January survey by the British Social Attitudes.
Another poll, conducted by the Observer and published in December, revealed only a fourth of British voters believed that the EU was a “good thing”, while 42 percent appeared to have the opposite view.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron promised to renegotiate his country’s terms of entry to the EU and then hold a referendum in 2017, offering the UK electorate the new arrangement or a chance to leave the EU completely. However, to fulfill the promise his party has to win a majority in the 2015 general election.