- Plan for test outlined by Iain Duncan Smith this week
- Laszlo Andor told David Cameron to drop proposals
- Hungarian official branded Britain a ‘nasty country’ last month
PUBLISHED: 19:59 EST, 13 December 2013 | UPDATED: 20:08 EST, 13 December 2013
Brussels last night warned it would take Britain to court over ‘xenophobic’ plans to impose English tests on migrants before they can claim benefits.
The plan to require migrants to demonstrate a ‘reasonable standard of English’ was outlined by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith this week.
But Laszlo Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, told David Cameron to drop proposals to tighten the so-called ‘habitual residency tests’ or face legal action.
‘Nasty country’: EU commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Laszlo Andor told David Cameron to drop proposals
The Hungarian official, who branded Britain a ‘nasty country’ last month, said the EU already had ‘clear rules’ on residency and ‘the UK should apply it, like other states’.
He added: ‘The European Commission has already decided to refer UK to EU Court. We will look at the latest measures and act again if necessary.’
Mr Andor also warned ministers against undermining the EU by raising concerns about immigration, saying: ‘Responsible politicians should avoid legitimising xenophobic reactions that indeed weaken the European spirit.’
His comments – made during a question-and-answer session on Twitter – came as Mr Cameron suggested controls on immigration from new EU states should be extended to at least ten years.
Tests: Prime Minister David Cameron said controls on immigration should be extended to at least ten years
The Prime Minister said he wanted to see an increase in the so-called ‘transitional controls’ on new EU members, which can currently be kept in place for just seven years.
And he suggested the EU’s free-movement rules should be suspended indefinitely for the poorest countries until their economies have reached a certain level.
He acknowledged public concern about a potential ‘influx’ of immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria at the start of next year when transitional controls end
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