‘Not OUR fault!’ Juncker says BRITISH politicians caused Brexit by encouraging immigration

JEAN-CLAUDE Juncker today took a swipe at successive British governments as he accused them of causing Brexit by wrongly blaming Brussels for their own open door migration policies.

In candid remarks the EU Commission chief said UK ministers had repeatedly pointed the finger at Europe as a way of covering up for their unpopular decisions and mistakes.In particular he said the reason EU migration is such a big issue in Britain compared to other member states was because politicians here had actively encouraged people to come in large numbers.

Jean-Claude JunckerGETTY     Jean-Claude Juncker said British politicians are to blame for Brexit

His comments, made on the eve of the bloc’s 60th birthday celebration in Rome, are designed as a warning to other European leaders not to play a “dangerous” blame game with their own voters.Writing in The Guardian, the Brussels boss also said that the EU would actively seek continued cooperation with the UK on a large range of issues even after it has left the club.

Jean-Claude JunckerEbS           The EU Commission chief said the UK had encouraged migration

David Cameron and John MajorGETTY           But Brussels was obstinate on some issues too, such as David Cameron’s migrant benefit reforms

And he did not mince his words in his assessment of how senior British politicians have acted over recent decades, saying they are largely responsible for the growth in euroscepticism.He wrote: “For too long there has been a gap between what people expect and what Europe is able to deliver.

“We should not pretend Europe can solve all problems. ‘Brussels’ should not have been constantly blamed in British political discourse for things the EU is not responsible for – we now know the result of such rhetoric.”

He pointed out that the EU has virtually no influence over the spheres of healthcare, education and welfare policy which are often so contentious in UK elections.

In reality Brussels does hold significant sway over the latter of those three, as David Cameron discovered when he tried and failed to gain minor concessions over migrants’ access to benefits.

The EU also enforces a strict free movement policy which technically means, as many Leave supporters pointed out, that the Government cannot control numbers arriving from Europe.However, Mr Juncker’s assertion that Britain has actively encouraged EU migration and in particular an influx of cheap, low-skilled labour from Eastern Europe will resonate.

Under Tony Blair the UK was the only major nation not to impose transitional controls when the eastern bloc entered the club in 2004, whereas France and Germany both put up barriers for eight years.

Britain also does not implement many of the control measures it is legally allowed to by Brussels, such as requiring people from other EU countries to register with authorities so that accurate numbers can be determined.

On top of that, Government statistics show that immigration from the rest of Europe still makes up less half of people coming to the UK every year, although it has grown substantially over the past decade.

The EU boss wrote: “On the fourth – immigration – free movement is integral to the EU’s single market, which the UK has always strongly supported, and which is a right with clear limits.

“Furthermore, most immigration to Britain comes from outside the EU, where policy is made by the UK alone.“It is also the UK that decides on the structural economic issues that have led to high demand from British employers for migrant labour.”

EU leaders are congregating in Rome today for a crucial summit to mark the 60th birthday of the bloc, at which they hope to agree on a way forward post-Brexit.

Mr Juncker has drawn up five “pathways” he believes European leaders can choose from, although he has personally admitted he thinks a sixth option “designed by the people” will be the best route to success.

Leave a Reply

Help put the World to rights and leave a Comment

Notify of
Powered by: Wordpress
%d bloggers like this: