Brian Hayes MEP

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Too little too late on EU ‘benefit tourism’ crackdown – Hayes

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Too little too late on EU ‘benefit tourism’ crackdown – Hayes

EU citizens will now have to work at least 3 months in another Member State before being able to claim unemployment benefits

Brian Hayes MEP today said that proposals announced by the European Commission earlier this week to curb so-called ‘benefit tourism’ in the EU have come much too late and should have been announced before the Brexit referendum.

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“Benefit tourism was one of David Cameron’s main qualms in relation to EU freedom of movement. His constant message was that EU freedom of movement makes it too easy for migrants to come to Britain and claim benefits hassle-free.

“It was expected that the Commission would come forward just before the Brexit referendum with a proposal to crackdown benefit tourism and allow Member States to limit unemployment benefits for EU migrants. Unfortunately, the Commission dragged their feet this and effectively allowed Brexit campaigners to hijack the whole benefit tourism issue.

“However, the content of these new proposals is very positive. I believe the Commission has struck a good balance between stamping out abuse of benefit systems but equally in recognising that labour mobility is a good thing. A mobile workforce in Europe contributes to economic growth, bolsters youth employment and stimulates competitiveness in the jobs market.

“The key issue in these new rules is fairness. It is fair that EU citizens would have to work at least three months in another Member State before being able to claim unemployment benefits, as the new rules state. This is vital to stamp out abuses of different benefit systems.

“It is also sensible that people will receive unemployment benefits from where they work rather than where they live, as outlined under the new rules.

“The Irish government should welcome these proposals as I believe these rules make sense for EU migrants working in Ireland but they equally make sense for Irish migrants working in other EU countries.”


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