More money for them...
The European Parliament voted to increase the EU budget by 5.9 per cent to 130 billion euros on the same day that Chancellor George Osborne announced huge spending cuts. The proposed budget increase for 2011 would raise Britain’s gross contribution to the EU budget by more than £840 million, to around £6.5 billion.
More power for them...
Conservative MPs have voted for laws to increase EU justice and home-affairs powers through extending the so-called European arrest warrant, the EU diplomatic service, and new supervisory rules for the City of London.
More rules from them...
The European Commission has started legal proceedings to scrap the current rules on welfare claims by EU immigrants. Benefits tourists may get the green light to come to Britain and at once claim handouts of an estimated £2.5 billion a year.
At the moment migrants to Britain from the EU are subject to a “habitual residency test” for claiming benefits. They must show that they either have worked or have a good chance of getting a job to qualify for jobseeker’s allowance, employment support allowance, pension credit or income support. But the Commission says, “Having examined the ‘right to reside’ test ... it is not compatible with different legal provisions of EU law.”
Concern is not enough
In a recent letter to the EU Trade Commissioner, the European Trade Union Confederation has, for the first time, expressed its concerns on Mode 4 in the EU/India Free Trade Agreement, along with EU free movement of labour and services and “posted worker” issues, and the European Court of Justice’s anti-worker judgements. But the letter doesn’t go beyond calling for union involvement in these negotiations. What it should be signalling is active opposition to such trade concessions which are set up specifically to attack EU labour conditions.
But to have any effect unions will have to firm up their position and clearly tell their members and countries what the implications of the negotiations are.