Ukip has accused Prime Minister David Cameron of breaking “another” promise on immigration, after the EU’s Foreign Ministers, including Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, gave the go-ahead to Bosnia and Herzegovina to apply for EU membership. Mr Cameron had previously promised to veto any new member states unless the treaty rules on free movement of peoples was altered to prevent mass migrations.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, located in the Balkan peninsula in south east Europe, currently suffers from an unemployment rate of 44 percent. The average salary for those who do manage to find work is just £475 a month, but corruption is rife with some party nominated officials earning as much as £15,000 a month.
Indeed, conditions are much the same as those in Romania, where the average salary is also £475 a month. Unemployment there was running at nearly 25 percent in 2013 for under-25-year-olds, but has now dropped to just 5 percent for that demographic, or just over 6 percent overall thanks to restrictions on movement around the EU being lifted.
Meanwhile, over 187,000 Romanians applied for a National Insurance number in Britain in 2014, up from 27,700 the year before, allowing them to work in the UK. It is thought that the majority of those who applied were already living in Britain and had been working illegally.
The President of Romania, Traian Băsescu, was happy to admit last year that migration had helped his country overcome its employment crisis – and that the money sent back to Romania by workers abroad was helping to keep his country afloat.
“The reality that a part of Romanian peoples decide to find more work outside of Romania is something helping us very much – maintaining the unemployment at a reasonable rate. During the crisis period the remittances for Romania practically kept our foreign trade balance calibrated.” he said, although he did tell Radio 4 that he would be happy to take them back, once Romania was on its feet again, saying: “I’d like it to be understood, as soon as the Romanian economic conditions allow we will be ready to invite them back. Romania needs these people.”
Thanks to the reality of mass migration across the EU from poorer to richer member states, David Cameron had called for the principle of free movement to be re-examined. At an EU Summit in December 2013, he said that the criteria used when negotiating entry for new member states needed revising to end “mass population movements”.
“As we contemplate countries like Serbia or Albania one day joining the EU we must find a way to slow down access to each other’s labour markets until we can be sure that it will not cause vast migrations,” he said. “We need to return the principle of free movement to a more sensible basis and make it clear that it cannot be a completely unqualified right.
“We do need to re-examine this. It’s about sending a signal.”
At that meeting, he suggested that Britain would veto any new member states until the rules were changed.
However, the veto appears to have been quietly forgotten, as Bosnia and Herzegovina has now been given the green light to apply for EU membership. At a Foreign Affairs Council Meeting which took place today attended by all Foreign Secretaries of the EU nations, it was decided that the country could apply, as long as it made “meaningful progress” on a number of social and political reforms as stipulated by the EU.
Responding to today’s decision, UKIP MEP Jim Carver, who sits on the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee, told Breitbart London: “How does this approval by the UK’s Foreign Office assist the employment prospects of the many unskilled workers in the UK? I would say not at all.
“Given that Bosnia and Herzegovina has an unemployment rate of 44 percent, and that David Cameron promised that when negotiating the entry of new members he would change the criteria to curb “mass population movements”, it would appear that he has not kept his promise to veto the entry of new countries unless the rules changed.
“Another day, another broken promise from the Tory Party – it is clear they cannot be trusted.”