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El País - Spain | Friday, February 1, 2013

London's hypocritical protectionism

According to media reports, the British government is planning to block the access of workers from Romania and Bulgaria to certain social and healthcare services. The background to this is the fear of a wave of immigration when Romanians and Bulgarians gain unlimited access to the British labour market in 2014. This discrimination would be hypocritical as well as illegal, the left-liberal daily El País maintains: "London's attempt is unfair because it is aimed at taking measures against the citizens of a member state unilaterally and through the back door, exempting them from social rights or benefits to which they are entitled. … Moreover it is a hypocritical stance. The UK was after all the most vocal proponent of EU expansion at any cost, without demanding fulfilment of the strict Copenhagen criteria that govern the conditions for taking in a new member. In doing so it was trying to water down the Union, making it merely a free trade zone. To now turn against its own actions would be the conduct of a dishonourable member."

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