The current situation in UK will be addressed on Monday by Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission.
With UKIP gaining more power and acceptance of their anti-EU stance, David Cameroon’s chances of getting re-elected in 2015 are dropping. This is why his stance on immigration has softened recently, prompting Barroso’s warning speech on how Cameroon attempts to change movement rules in the EU would affect UK EU membership.
Barroso critiques UK’s recent position on immigration, warning that Britain will only succeed in isolating itself in Europe. He stated that “it is an illusion to believe that space for dialogue can be created if the tone and substance of the arguments you put forward question the very principle at stake and offend fellow Member States.” This position is prompted by Cameroon assertions that in 2017 he would put the relationship of UK with EU to a referendum.
According to Barroso, UK parties failed to acknowledge the benefits of UK EU membership, insisting only on the so-called negative effects of migration. Barroso is worried that no-one is challenging these views, giving the voters an alienated position on the relationship of EU with UK. Moreover, according to the president of the European Commission, David Cameroon’s discourse is threatening his relationship with the central and east European allies. Adding a tougher note to his speech, Barroso will claim that Cameroon propositions for immigration changes could be illegal and at the same time a violation of the free movement right.
In an earlier BBC speech on Sunday, Barroso warned that UK would have “zero” influence if it tried to leave EU. Manuel Barroso said that “Britain is stronger in the European Union […] David Cameron wrote to all of us about Ebola… What would be the influence of a prime minister of Britain if it was not part of the European Union?” Considering possible immigration changes, Barroso did not comment on a recent report in the Sunday Times according to which the government is planning to limit the number of national insurance numbers given to immigrants with low skills.
There were several reactions to Barroso’s position. Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps considered the president of the European Commission “out of touch” and “unelected bureaucrat”.
BBC Europe correspondent Chris Morris appreciated his comments as being less about diplomatic negotiations and more about giving UK an ultimatum as his term of office ends this month: “As Jose Manuel Barroso prepares to leave the European Commission after 10 years at the helm, he is becoming a little less diplomatic in trying to make the case that Britain and the EU need each other.