The ruling VVD and opposition CDA support tougher controls on EU immigration and want the cabinet to back British prime minister David Cameron’s call for limits, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday
During Tuesday evening’s debate on the social affairs ministry budget, MPs called for action to support the British position, which has been dismissed by the European Commission. Brussels says the suggestion is a non-starter because it conflicts with EU freedom of movement rules.
VVD parliamentarian Cora van Nieuwenhuizen said Brussels’ reaction is ‘disappointing’ and urged the cabinet to back Cameron. Christian Democrat Pieter Heerma also asked social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher to show his support, the Volkskrant said.
During the debate, John Kerstens from the ruling Labour party, emphasised the need for action to stop workers being exploited and warned against ‘proposals which sound good but which can’t be enacted’. There is no majority support within the EU for restricting immigration for EU nationals from new member states, he pointed out.
Despite calls for restrictions, there is not enough support in parliament to keep working permit restrictions in place for people from Romania and Bulgaria after January 2014, as demanded by the Socialists and anti-immigration PVV, the Volkskrant said.
‘No-one knows how many will come. We are afraid it will all go wrong and we won’t be able to cope,’ SP parliamentarian Paul Ulenbelt said.
Asscher plans to raise the ‘negative impact’ of free movement for people from Eastern Europe at the next EU leaders’ summit on December 9. The minister is also making agreements with Poland, Romania and Bulgaria to stop workers being exploited.
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