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 (Regulation 1257/1999 was repealed from 1 January 2007)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.

evad666's picture

Ooh you are awful, especially as I am having such fun.

Don Latuske's picture

I don't think the Uk needs to provide one scintilla of evidence if the electorate vote to leave the EU. That is all the evidence any UK government or any EU institution needs. Likewise, the UK government can take back any competence it wants on the basis that there never was a mandate for the competence to be surrendered. We only voted to join an economic community, not an emryonic United States of Europe or a Federation of European states or anything else you want to call it. Personally, I do nottrust Cameron and certainkly not the Political Whore Clegg to do anything remotely suitable with regards to our relationship with the EU.

Gerry's picture

They're asking the Brits to be clear and logical about what they want, plus do some homework. Does anybody really believe this will ever be willing to do that? This sounds too much like doing the dirty work yourself!

George Mc's picture

Like you Don I do not trust Cameron, who in my opinion is a closet Euro-phile. Your accurate summary of Clegg does of course cover all Lib Dems.

People in England are only getting to see what we experienced in Scotland from 1999 - 2003 when Labour was in power with the Lib Dems.

The Lib Dems were so desperate for power that they were telling different stories in some constituencies to get elected and when the ministerial Mondeos were waived in their faces, all their policies went out of the window. Ring a bell anyone?

David Barneby's picture

The list would have to be extremely long !!! I don't think David Cameron really understands that the majority of British people want OUT of the EU , regardless of any treaty changes .

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