Britain must spell out EU treaty changes it wants: Malmström

Cecilia Malmström [European Parliament]

Britain could get the European Union treaty changes it wants if it spells them out and finds allies for its case, a top EU official said on Tuesday (5 March).

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström signalled that any future British prime minister would have a case for changing the 28-member bloc's treaties if he or she clearly stated what the desired changes are and had enough allies on board.

"I think any British prime minister can get the changes, but he or she would need to define what he wants," said Malmström at a talk on EU migration at Chatham House in London.

"If they do it that way, they can."

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who wants to renegotiate Britain's ties with the EU and offer Britons a referendum on EU membership in 2017 if he wins next year's general election, has repeatedly called for curbs on the free movement of people to stem so-called "benefits tourism". Other EU states have backed him.

"They should define exactly what the problem is and give evidence for that, try to define a few concrete solutions and search for allies in the European Union in a constructive way," Malmström said.

EU officials have in the past accused members calling for limits to the rules on free movement of indulging in chauvinism and stereotypes.

But Malmström warned that efforts to opt out of existing EU rules on the freedom of movement risked opening up a "Pandora's box" of different national systems for dealing with migration.

"If one member state opts out ... then we open up the Pandora's box where we risk having 28 different systems and then we have to reflect is this really worth doing" Malmström said.

Cameron has so far received only lukewarm support for his plans for treaty changes, although German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed support for his bid to clamp down on abuse of the EU's freedom of movement rules during a visit to the UK last week.



Defective Items of the Treaty must be repaired's picture

Defective Items of The Lisbon Treaty:

1) Articles 175 and 178 must be repaired. Reason: European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, Guidance Section mentioned in the Treaty does not exist any more. (Regulation 1257/1999 was repealed from 1 January 2007)

2. Annex I to the Treaty. Reason: "Brussels nomenclature" used for construction of the list of the products, was replaced by Combined Nomenclature, and thus it does not exist any more since 1987 (27 years!).

evad666's picture

To Defective items of the Treaty must be repaired.
Once again we have a glaring example of the incompetence of the Commission and the craven negligence of previous UK administrations.
What else in the Lisbon Treaty is incorrect? The Treaty should be revoked and sent back for Review.
When and if it has been adequately reviewed and represented with audited accounts then the UK should be asked to make a fiscal contribution.
Until then the EU should whistle for any money from the UK.

Mike Parr's picture

The problem of "benefits tourism" is a non-problem the UK government's own stats show that 90%+ of "EU "immigrants" work and pay taxes - they are net contributors to the UK.

The problem is:
a) the minimum wage is too low for many Brits to live on (which is why so many (25%++)working people also get benefits
b) enforcement of the minimum wage is a joke.

If the above two things were addressed, Brits would have a reason to work (right now they do not) & would displace EU "immigrants". None of the above will happen because the Uk is currently run by the stupid party. Indeed, the low minimum wage coupled to government benefits means that the UK government is subsidising UK companies - perhaps DG Comp should take a look at this.