The original arrangement to allow relatively free movement of workers or visitors between the then 10 member states of the European Economic Community was agreed in the Schengen (Luxembourg) Agreement signed on 14 June 1985. The purpose was the harmonisation and gradual abolition of border control.
This was firmed up in the Schengen Convention of 1990 with the abolition of internal border controls and the creation of a common visa policy.
The Amsterdam Treaty of 1999 incorporated the previous Schengen Treaties into EU Law with opt-outs for the UK and Ireland.
The Labour Government agreed to be bound by the terms of the Free Movement Directive 2004/38/EC dated 29 April 2004, which swept away the UK opt-out. The UK was now bound by the following clauses in relation to an EU citizen:
a) Travel without visa or permission to enter.
b) Live and work without a work permit.
c) Be self-employed or set up a business or seek work.
f) Vote in European Parliamentary elections.
Although this did not include automatic rights to benefits and housing it did imply that rights normally afforded to citizens of the member state be applicable to immigrants. There then followed a steady but quite large influx of people mainly from Poland who spread out across our country and took on menial jobs that many British citizens wouldn’t take.
No mass influx of immigrants occurred from 2004 until Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007 and then the UK suffered a flood of people when they were afforded full EU citizen rights in 2014. Immigration numbers from the EU are really unknown because no-one counts them in or out. All indications from statistics of the ONS put the figure at several millions in recent years.
The European Commission produced another document, COM (2010) 373 Final on 13 July 2010 entitled The Reaffirmation of the Free Movement of Workers, replacing all previous articles, directives and regulations in this matter and including case-law of the Court of Justice of the EU.
By consenting to being part of the process towards ever-closer union we now have given up the right of veto which previously existed and called ‘unanimity’ that required all member states to agree before a subject was adopted. Now the qualified majority voting allows the EU to apply damaging legislation on any member state if a majority of the 26 states agree.
The free movement of people is now enshrined in EU law, no ifs, no buts, & no op-out.
‘No borders existing between the member states’ is an integral part of producing a single super-state. The EU is not going to roll this back just for the UK, though it might reinstate the opt-out for the purpose of allowing David Cameron to possibly win a referendum on EU membership.
Unfortunately the opt-out would only exist for a few years until the next treaty or tidying-up exercise swept it away again, possibly even before the end of the next British Parliament. Nevertheless the citizens of the UK will have been cheated yet again.
It seems to me that this is the real purpose of all of the previous treaties, to sweep away the multitudes of special cases required by national government that have allowed them to persuade their voters to accept ever closer union.
The only way to permanently control and limit immigration from EU member states is to leave the EU and reintroduce a rigorous border control force. Being an island nation, the only way in is by channel tunnel, by air or by sea. So it shouldn’t be that difficult to achieve.
Not only can we stop unwanted mass economic migration but we can return unwanted criminals to their country of origin and not be overruled by the European Court of Human Rights because that individual has a right to a family life in the UK. A rigorous border service would make it extremely difficult for them to return.
On Question time on 16th October, the Liberal MP Menzies Campbell reiterated the LibDems’ position that we have always benefited from mass immigration economically and from the wealth of ideas and creativity that they have brought with them. In Medieval times or more recently during the industrial revolution this may well have been the case but for what purpose do we need millions of unskilled and semi-skilled workers now?
The Labour party will not offer us a referendum on EU membership and also agrees with mass immigration though it may offer some sweetener to the electorate in the run up to the next election in the hope of buying votes.
David Cameron continues to make pronouncements how he intends to do a deal to stem the flow of EU immigrants. EU leaders continue to re-iterate that within EU law this is not an option.
Only UKIP have never wavered on the demand for a referendum on EU membership. It is the only means of stemming the flow of EU economic migrants. The UKIP policy of a points system of immigrant applicants from anywhere in the world is now being considered by the Conservatives but with no way to implement it.
Imitation is one of the greatest forms of flattery. Why buy the copy when you can get the original. Vote Conservative get Labour. Vote UKIP get UKIP and get a referendum.