EU expansion

The second issue that I wanted to rant about was reaction to the accession of Romania and Bulgaria to the EU.  I was especially disappointed by the official Lib Dem reaction to the Government decision to impose restrictions on working rights on citizens of the new EU states.  As I said in a letter to Lib Dem News, economists are divided about the short term benefits of immigration from the ‘New Europe’ but the long term benefits in the form of new future trading links with states that are going to turn in the biggest growth rates on the continent are undeniable.  Added to which, from a Lib Dem perspective, how can we claim to be European party with a straight face when we are acquiescing to the creation of two classes of EU citizen and state?

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5 responses to “EU expansion

  1. Firstly, welcome to blogging 🙂

    Secondly: Yes. I agree.
    We should be welcoming the new members, welcoming workers from there.

    I think this may be a case of not wanting to talk too much about Europe as it is a perceived weakness…

  2. Virtually all of the reporting you see is based on the assumption the traffic is one way. Lets face it, if UK citizens wanted to splash their savings on living in Eastern Europe they would be laughing, and in an ever expanding labour market there is no reason for the traffic to be one way.

  3. I agree that we could have been more robust.

    Tristan is probably right that we’re avoiding a sensitive topic, though I suspect that it is immigration rather than Europe that has our leaders quaking in their boots. Nick Clegg was making disturbingly timorous noises at a fringe event at the Conference.

    To my understanding, economists are not that divided about the net gains from immigration. Immigrants work hard, pay taxes, keep inflation under control and generate growth, so creating jobs for those who were born here. I really can’t see the problem!

    Good luck with the new blog.

  4. I’m sure it’s right that it is fear of the Daily Mail that led to the party line but I think it is bad politics because we gain most when we take distinctive liberal positions on issues at a time when both the other parties are looking and sounding the same.

    I was disappointed to see The Guardian jumping on the ‘lets bash Romania’ bandwagon today at http://politics.guardian.co.uk/eu/story/0,,1984948,00.html
    particularly after such an interesting and intelligent article on Saturday:
    http://environment.guardian.co.uk/conservation/story/0,,1982378,00.html

  5. Jennifer Churchill

    Fear is always stoked up regarding the economic ramifications of migration; the Hechscher-Ohlin model is used to predict that unskilled workers coming into our national economy would be potentially bad because it could augment supply at a time when demand is falling. This could either push wages down or unemployment up. Whether or not this is actually happening is questionable; and in any case we could talk in terms of retraining and adapting to new economic circumstances rather than pretending that pandering to general suspicion of foreigners is in some way a ‘policy’.

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