Not Saussure

September 19, 2006

Either Dr Reid or The Telegraph is under a misapprehension here…

Filed under: civil liberties, Panic, press, UK — notsaussure @ 6:48 pm

Today’s Telegraph:

Entry to the UK by Romanians and Bulgarians is likely to be restricted if they join the European Union next year, John Reid, the Home Secretary, has said.

Mr Reid said immigration from the two countries would need to be “carefully managed”.

It was the strongest indication so far from the Government that nationals of the two Eastern European states will not be granted the same unrestricted access as residents of other former Communist states which joined the EU in May 2004

Exhibit A; the snappily titled

DIRECTIVE 2004/38/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States

This, essentially, does what it says on the packet:

    1. Citizenship of the Union confers on every citizen of the Union a primary and individual right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, subject to the limitations and conditions laid down in the Treaty and to the measures adopted to give it effect.
    2. The free movement of persons constitutes one of the fundamental freedoms of the internal market, which comprises an area without internal frontiers, in which freedom is ensured in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty.

Exhibit B: Tony McNulty (Minister of State (Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality), Home Office), answering a question from Michael Gove MP on March 14 2006*:

Directive 2004/38/EC will be transposed into UK legislation via the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, which are currently being drafted and will laid by negative resolution so as enter into force on 30 April 2006.

Exhibit C: Extract from The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006

Right of admission to the United Kingdom
11. —(1) An EEA national must be admitted to the United Kingdom if he produces on arrival a valid national identity card or passport issued by an EEA State.

Member countries can, certainly, make stop him from working legally when after he’s arrived, but they can’t stop him from entering the country in the first place– and, as has been pointed out both here and elsewhere, for the benefit of people who can’t see the blindingly obvious, you can’t easily stop him from working illegally once he’s arrived. If you try to stop him entering, not only will he have a rock-solid case against you under the Human Rights Act; you’ll also be breaking EU law (since it’s a Single Market issue) and get fined for every day you try to keep him and his compatriots out just on the grounds of their nationality.

Now, if you read the Telegraph report in more detail, you find that Dr Reid doesn’t, in fact, say anything about the likelihood or otherwise of HMG ignoring both its own and EU law, or of our leaving the EU in the next few months; what he did say is

“As global migration increases and the EU continues to expand, we need to be ready for fresh challenges – including in the law enforcement field.

“That is why we need to manage immigration carefully, including in respect of the forthcoming decision over Romania and Bulgaria.

“We need to consider very carefully all the implications of accession of new states and ensure that we have all the necessary safeguards in place, right down to local borough level, to reassure the public that this movement will be managed fairly and competently.”

And very sensible, too. For one thing, if you don’t manage matters properly you end up with the sort of problems highlighted recently by Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, chairman of the Local Government Association, who

said the government must improve the way it works out migrant numbers, to ensure councils get adequate funding.

“This could pose severe problems in the future as services get cut, or council tax has to rise disproportionately for the growing migrant population,” he said in a letter to Home Secretary John Reid.

Among the severe problems are unhelpful stories in the Daily Wail, saying things like

Council tax will have to rise because of Labour’s failure to get a grip on immigration, town hall chiefs have warned.

This wasn’t, in fact, if you read the Mail story to find out what Mr Bruce-Lockhart actually said to Dr Reid, what he was warning about at all; what concerns him is that government funding for local authorities is skewed because HMG’s demographic projections are all over the shop. To quote his letter (from the Mail)

‘There are a number of local authorities for whom the current system of measuring the number of migrants in specific council areas is failing to ensure adequate funding to keep council services to local people maintained.

‘Councils are finding it difficult to provide services to growing populations that are not recognised by government statistics.

‘Working migrants have become an invisible population whose children need school places, who need to be housed appropriately and in some cases need social services. Official statistics have failed to reflect this.

‘Unless accurate, up-to-date figures on migration are produced, so that the proper funding to councils can be reflected, this could pose severe problems in the future as services get cut, or council tax has to rise disproportionately for growing migrant population,’

Very sensible.

And, I submit, the best way of producing ‘accurate, up-to-date figures’ so that both Central and Local Government can manage their resources is not to encourage the people you’re trying to count to go on the black and drop out of official sight.

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