Entry 28

Cameron compromise on reducing welfare benefits for migrants to UK

In the week (6-13 December) before the EU summit to decide its policy on amended terms for British membership, UK prime minister David Cameron had to compromise on his controversial demand that EU migrants to the UK should be banned from claiming in-work benefits for four years.

He has no choice in the face of overwhelming opposition amongst the Union’s 27 other leaders, especially those in Central and European Europe. His isolation on the issue became increasingly clear in the weeks leading up to the summit. Britain’s five points for negotiating relations are set out in Entry 25 below.

Cameron’s compromise won him no praise at home. The anti-EU group Vote Leave said “Smoke and mirrors from No 10 won’t hide the fact that any compromise with intransigent EU leaders would only further water down the renegotiation.”

Brexit supporters know that Cameron’s negotiating position has been weakened in the eyes of British voters by his forced compromise on the most sensitive aspect of renegotiation – migrant worker access to benefits.



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