Brexit negotiations: Tusk yields to Cameron's demands

Article published on Feb. 3, 2016
Article published on Feb. 3, 2016

Britain and other EU member states will have the right to deny welfare benefits to EU migrants for up to four years. The British government has responded positively to this and other proposals put forward by EU Council President Donald Tusk. But can they prevent a Brexit?

EU undermining one of its cornerstonesHandelsblatt, Germany

The EU's plan to allow member states to ban migrants from claiming benefits for up to four years is problematic, the liberal business daily Handelsblatt comments: "Cameron is preaching to the converted in other European capitals, including Berlin. German local councillors are just as keen to keep Romanians and Bulgarians away from their welfare coffers as London's mayor is. It's true that a growing number of migrants from the EU's poorhouses are cashing in on Hartz IV [German unemployment benefit], child benefit and social security. Some are doing this by exploiting loopholes in national social welfare legislation. It is the task of German legislators to finally close these loopholes. … But instead the EU prefers to undermine one of its cornerstones, the free movement of workers. … The EU is taking a considerable risk from a legal point of view. The European Court of Justice may well ban it from discriminating against EU foreigners in general in its social legislation." (03/02/2016)

British PM celebrates hollow victory Il Sole 24 Ore, Italy 

Tusk's proposals are a hollow victory for Cameron, the liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore observes: "There is a certain tragic absurdity to the fact that in these times of recurring crises the EU is being rocked to its very foundations. … The possibility of a Brexit is pushing it to the brink of the abyss, and all for the sake of a few reforms demanded by London. Are they any good? Some, perhaps. Indispensable? None of them, for no one. Not even for Britain and David Cameron, who for the second time has started off an awkward political row with remarkable unscrupulousness. The risk of a Brexit remains despite the reforms. And Cameron didn't even achieve his real goal: reconciliation between the EU agnostics and Eurosceptics within his Conservative Party. Fans of the EU are seldom to be found anyway among the Tories." (03/02/2016)

Eurozone is Europe's coreLibération, France

For the European project to last it must focus on its core countries, the centre-left daily Libération stresses: "This latest nervous breakdown reminds Europe's leaders that the myth of an EU advancing together is dead and buried. The heart of the common project is the Eurozone, which with 19 countries has reached its maximum size. The urgent task at hand is to integrate and democratise this entity - its survival depends on it - without paying further heed to the other member states. It is time for a Copernican revolution: a new treaty with 19 countries that creates a federal Eurozone, a 'Power Europe'. Only that can prevent Britain and its apprentice states from causing damage. While Germany stands at the ready, France is nowhere to be seen. And this absence is far more dangerous than a Brexit." (03/02/2016)

Only with Britain is the EU strong - Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland

Restrictions on access to welfare benefits for EU migrants will be painful for Poles but better than a Brexit, the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza believes: "After a Brexit the EU would be considerably weaker economically and politically - also vis-à-vis Russia. It would then concentrate even more on its core - the Eurozone. That would work to the detriment of countries that don't have the euro and consequently don't have a say in the most important decisions. And that includes Poland. For that reason it's good that Beata Szydło's government has also signalled its willingness to compromise on the question of migrant workers. ... Yes, Poland must endeavour to limit the negative impact of the reforms on Poles and other migrants to the UK. But at the same time it's better to forego certain rights to welfare benefits if it means protecting the EU from a Brexit." (03/02/2016)

Time to regain control over borders -  Daily Mail, Great Britain

The compromise proposal does not go far enough, the conservative paper Daily Mail criticises: "Meanwhile, as the politicians posture, on the EU’s southern borders the real threat to European stability grows more menacing by the day. … Germany, Sweden, and Denmark have seen violent demonstrations and across the continent there has been a surge in support for far-Right parties. Unless this tide of humanity can be controlled, the very existence of the EU is under threat. The only solution is to limit free movement and give individual nations back some control over their borders. So it is a damning indictment of the much-vaunted renegotiation, that these crucial matters weren’t even discussed." (03/02/2016)


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