Tuesday, February 23, 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Cameron's EU deal more confusing than convincing

Cameron’s EU deal more confusing than convincing 

For immediate release – Tuesday, 23 February 2016

-With picture-

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

Statement by Professor Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government at Durham University’s Law School and leading immigration law and policy specialist:

“Prime Minister David Cameron’s EU deal is more confusing than convincing.

His proposed ‘red card’ for unwanted EU draft legislation is more obscure. There must be 55% ‘of the votes allocated to national Parliaments’ to temporarily halt it. This does not mean 55% of Parliaments, but of ‘the votes allocated’ to them.

This process must be completed in 12 weeks – and requires ‘reasoned opinions’. It is not enough for Parliament to object – it must agree reasons for it.

The EU Council would then consider these reasons is a ‘comprehensive discussion’. If the Council is satisfied these reasons can be accommodated, the draft legislation can become law. Member states represented on the Council do not have a veto.

Cameron’s emergency brake is especially confusing. The preamble justifies restrictions on social security systems of different EU states because they are a potential ‘pull factor’ – but crucially this need not be shown. This is just as well because the UK government confirmed recently it had no such evidence benefits are a pull factor for EU migrants.

If Britain wants to pull an emergency brake, several conditions apply. The brake must be ‘based on objective considerations independent of the nationality of the persons concerned’. This requires the UK to provide evidence - it does not have - about the pressure by EU migrants alone on the wider social security system.

Any brake must be ‘proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued’ for a maximum of four years within a seven year timeframe. This means that benefits can only be restricted for a maximum of four years - if there is a green light from Brussels. The timeframe can be much less if 'proportionate' - but not more.
Should a brake be permitted for four years - this would start from the time of employment after the brake is applied. Someone continually in work without interruption would see the brake gradually weaken and begin to receive some share of benefits until the fourth year when he or she would receive 100%. But if during that time this person was out of work the brake would be reapplied when back in work - covering a seven year period.

Finally, Cameron’s new deal will permit ‘an option to index’ child benefit to the conditions of the member state the child resides. This will apply to new EU migrants in the first instance and to existing EU migrant residents by 2020 – note by that time EU migrants might qualify for UK citizenship and so claim full child benefits.



NB – Please note that Professor Brooks is a member of the Labour Party.


Professor Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government, in Durham Law School, Durham University, is available for comment on thom.brooks@durham.ac.uk

Alternatively please contact Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075; media.relations@durham.ac.uk

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

Durham University’s academic experts are available for interview via down-the-line broadcast quality TV facilities from our Durham City campus, via broadcast provider Globelynx.

To request and check the availability of interviewees please contact the Durham University Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075 or email media.relations@durham.ac.uk.

You can book the Globelynx fixed camera and circuit direct by logging into www.globelynx.com. The IFB number is +44 (0)191 384 2019.

If you have not booked a Globelynx feed before please call +44 (0)20 7963 7060 for assistance.

A broadcast quality ISDN radio line is also available at Durham University and bookings can be arranged via the Media Relations Team on the contact details above. The ISDN number is +44 (0)191 386 2749 

A landline number is available in our Media Suite which houses the television and radio facilities - +44 (0)191 334 6472.


A high resolution headshot of Professor Thom Brooks is available on request from Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075; media.relations@durham.ac.uk.

Further reading

Professor Thom Brooks, Durham University Law School website https://www.dur.ac.uk/law/staff/?id=11140

About Durham University

-          A world top 100 university with a global reputation and performance in research and education
-          A member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive UK universities
-          Research at Durham shapes local, national and international agendas, and directly informs the teaching of our students
-          Ranked in the world top 25 for the employability of its students by blue-chip companies world-wide (QS World University Rankings 2014/15)
-          In the global top 50 for Arts and Humanities (THE World University Rankings 2013/14)
-          In the 2015 Complete University Guide, Durham was the only UK university to receive a top ten ranking for all of its subjects and 19 of Durham’s 22 subjects were ranked in the top five.
-          Durham was named as The Times and Sunday Times 'Sports University of the Year 2015' in recognition of outstanding performance in both the research and teaching of sport, and student and community participation in sport at all levels. 


No comments: