Juncker says UK ‘beating up’ poor European immigrants

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker accused Britain’s prime minister of “beating up” poor European immigrant workers with plans to restrict their access to public assistance, The Guardian reported Saturday. Juncker, whose appointment as commission chief was bitterly opposed by Prime Minister David Cameron, warned that proposals outlined last month to restrict low wage European workers’ access to tax credits and social housing could eventually threaten Britain’s key financial sector. The statements were made during a television panel discussion in Austria on Friday evening.

I am utterly against behaving as if all Poles, all Romanians, all Bulgarians in the European labour market are of a basic mentality that is criminal.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

Cameron has dampened talk of restricting the number of European workers moving to Britain following German leader Angela Merkel’s cool response, and has instead shifted his focus to welfare curbs. Juncker warned of the knock-on effects for Britain of Cameron’s plans, saying the right of free movement of workers was tied to the movement of capital. “Then it will be the end for London’s tax rulings,” he said. A spokesman from Cameron’s office responded that “the British people were right to want controlled immigration and that free movement was not an unqualified right.”