Poland to block benefits clampdown
Poland would block David Cameron's plans to clampdown on European Union migrants claiming benefits unless he applies the measures to Britons as well, one of its ministers has said.
Rafal Trzaskowski said it was an "absolute red line" for his government that there is no discrimination in the welfare system on grounds of nationality.
The deputy foreign minister said the plans to stop migrants from claiming benefits for the first four years after they arrive in Britain as well as kick out those who fail to find work after six months would go against all existing laws and insisted Poland would oppose the plans as they stand.
Mr Cameron has admitted that his proposals would require treaty change but would need support from across the EU to push through such measures.
Mr Trzaskowski told BBC Newsnight: " If one wants to get away with all the benefits that are enshrined in the regulation of EU and treat immigrants from EU differently, and for example only pay benefits after four years of their stay in Britain or extradite people who can't find work, that would be against all the existing laws of the EU and obviously that would be a red line for us."
"The Polish government is quite ready to talk about abuses of existing systems, sham marriages, extraditing criminals and so forth.
"But to be truthful this is not the problem, it is marginal. When it comes to changing the rules in the EU, when it comes to social support and so forth, when it comes to undermining the existing laws, obviously we are going to react quite strongly and we are going to be against.
"But the most important thing is that David Cameron wants to talk about it and doesn't want to change policies unilaterally."
He added: "This is an absolute red line, that there is no discrimination on grounds of nationality. If Britain were to change its policy, for example, into contributory system in which everyone has to pay in to get some money from the system we then could talk about changes if they were absolutely non-discriminatory."
Mr Cameron signalled he is ready to lead Britain out of the European Union if other member states set their faces against tough new proposals to cut immigration.
In his much-anticipated speech last Friday, the premier warned that he will "rule nothing out" if other countries turn a deaf ear to British concerns.
But the Prime Minister disappointed eurosceptic Tories by stopping short of proposing a cap on European migration, which had been floated in the run-up to the speech.