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EU commissioner: British don't know EU migration 'truth'

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to tighten eligibility rules for out-of-work benefits and curb access to housing benefits, as restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian migration to the UK expire at the end of 2013.

Laszlo Andor, European commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion, described the move by Mr Cameron as an "over-reaction" and said the British public had not been given the full "truth" about the subject.

"If you look at the current movement, there are many more people moving from Italy or Spain as opposed to Romania and Bulgaria," he continued.

"There are also existing EU rules and safeguards against the so-called 'benefit tourism'.

"If someone new arrives to the UK or another country, it is the home country which in the first phase needs to cover Job Seeker's Allowance, and not the receiving country."

He also explained that the rules regarding the free movement of workers within the European Union have been "developed by the [EU] member states themselves, including the United Kingdom, and this is part of the single market".

"If we start to dismantle some of the rules of the single market which should apply to everyone, [other countries] may invent other ideas and proposals and then we end up on a slippery slope," he added.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday 27 November 2013.

  • 27 Nov 2013