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TV discussion: is the UK pursuing an anti-EU agenda?

 Transmitted 21 October 2014. Posted 9 December 2014.

On 21 October 2014 the Islam Channel’s current affairs programme “The Report” had a segment entitled “David Cameron's 'Anti-EU Agenda' — Heading for Brexit?” The Islam Channel has described the programme as investigating Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to dismiss the warnings by Jose Manuel Barroso, the outgoing president of the European Commission, that he is pursuing a risky anti-EU agenda.

The presenter was Jonathan Steele and the panel participants were:

After the programme was transmitted and before this page was created, Prime Minister David Cameron made an important speech on EU migration on 28 November 2014. It is worth reading the text, as it shows the reasonable approach the Government is taking on the issue.

You can watch it below.

The key points that I made during the discussion were:

  1. I rejected the allegation that David Cameron was being offensive to other members of the EU.
  2. The free movement of labour poses much greater challenges in an EU of 28 members than it did when the EU had only six members.
  3. The concept of a numerical limit on EU migration is not unreasonable. For example Luxembourg could not cope if everybody else in the EU wanted to move there. The question is how such a limit could be implemented.
  4. There is no reason to believe that other EU members would not agree to a reasonable treaty change.
  5. Many EU migrants are highly skilled and would be welcome in the UK under any points based scheme. The challenge is people coming to the UK with very low skills.
  6. It was a mistake for the Labour government in the mid-2000 is for the UK to not implement the transitional controls for the new entrance which most other EU countries did implement.
  7. The state of the economy in many continental European countries has magnified the attraction of the UK for EU migrants. When circumstances change, policies need to change.
  8. There is a very strong positive case for the EU and I expect David Cameron to put it at the appropriate time. At present voters are very concerned about immigration.
  9. I am very pro—EU and keen to have a positive referendum decision in favour of the EU after a negotiation.
  10. A referendum on the EU will only happen if we have a majority Conservative government.

 

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