Romanian workers in the UK will not be affected by the decisions of the European Council, President Klaus Iohannis assured on Saturday, following the Council’s meeting in Brussels. Romania has obtained in negotiation the guarantee of solid reasons for any restriction to the freedom of movement, he added.
“An agreement was reached on the relation between the United Kingdom and the European Union. (…) For Romania, the major topics were the social benefits and the free movement of labour. I have demanded the full observance in the agreement of the rights of Romanian citizens working in the United Kingdom,” the President declared.
The Council decided the setup of two mechanisms for the UK.
The first is a safeguard by subsequent modification of European laws to allow EU citizens the access to a restricted set of non-contributory benefits specific to the UK. “This mechanism is non-discriminatory, applicable to all EU citizens, and exceptional. It is applicable for a maximum seven years. Romanian citizens who already work in the UK – this is very important – will not be affected by the mechanism, but they too will recover their access to these benefits gradually, over a four-year period. We have been very much involved in this matter and we are very happy about this outcome of the negotiation,” Iohannis detailed.
The second mechanism allows the UK to index child allowances for children left home by workers of other EU countries. Iohannis pointed out that this mechanism, too does not discriminate among EU citizens. “The UK can apply indexing to allowance requests submitted after the mechanism comes into force. It is important for the EU workers residing in the UK who already get allowances for their children back home; indexing is applicable only from 2020 on. (…) These regulations do not come into force automatically, but are subject to an additional legislative process,” the President explained.
The child allowance mechanism will not be extended to other social benefits.
“Romania has obtained during the negotiations the amendment of the wording of the [European Council’s] decision, to the effect that requests of restricting the freedom of movement of individuals in accordance with Article 45 of the EU Treaty need sound justifications. It is a very important issue, because this avoids situations when merely political decisions are taken without very serious reasons. Romania got this by very diligent, well prepared negotiations, unlike others who spoke perhaps a little more and probably obtained a little less,” Iohannis concluded.
Klaus Iohannis sees Romania as part of migration solution, pleads for Schengen
President Klaus Iohannis has pleaded at the European Council for the preservation of the Schengen area, he declared on Saturday, following the Council’s meeting in Brussels. He added that Romania is part of the solution to the migration crisis.
“I have repeated that Romania is part of the solution to this crisis. I have stressed that we keep our position on approaching the root causes of migration, not just attempting to fight its effects. Therefore, we must focus on implemented the decisions already agreed on a European level to combat illegal migration; on effectively defend the outer borders of the EU, where Romania has an active role; and on the cooperation with the origin and transit states. I have pleaded for the need to maintain the integrity of the Schengen Area,” the President said.
Iohannis revealed that the European Council has analysed the measures previously agreed on the migration crisis, with special stress on the EU-Turkey relation as regards the management of migration flows. A EU-Turkey summit will be probably held early in March, he added.
The President also disclosed that the European Union members and the countries along the migration routes in the Western Balkans were surprised by Austria’s recent decision to set maximum daily quotas of migrants.