British PM david Cameron wants to restrict welfare benefits for EU migrants: photo - flickr.com/World Economic Forum
“Poland will certainly not allow for any changes in the law that would discriminate against any group - including Poles – anywhere in the EU,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Tusk revealed he is due to speak with his UK counterpart David Cameron on the telephone and that Poland's position is “unequivocal.”
The Polish prime minister's comments follow Cameron's statement on Sunday that he aims to stop child benefits for immigrants being sent outside the country if the children are not based in the UK.
Poles are the largest group of EU immigrants to the UK. Singling out the Polish worker, Cameron said “I don't think we should be paying child benefit to their family back at home in Poland,” prompting a swift response from Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who said Cameron should not “stigmatise” Poles.
Tusk has argued that if children of Polish immigrants to the UK are being looked after by their families in Poland, it is actually beneficial for Britain.
“It only takes a little common sense to see that if the children of Polish immigrants are in Poland and they are making use of the Polish system, and the parents are in the UK and paying taxes there, then that is in the interests of the UK.”
As examples he noted that Polish children are using the Polish school and health systems.
'Poles not grabbing benefits'
Meanwhile, Poland's ambassador in the UK has said Poles are hard-working and law-abiding and that as tax-payers they are due the same benefits as British citizens.
“I am happy that Poles in the UK fill job vacancies and skills gaps, facilitate growth in the economy, [and] pay taxes contributing to the UK's budget, “ Ambassador Witold Sobkow wrote for the UK edition of the Huffington Post.
“They come here to work hard, not to abuse the system or grab the benefits. Whatever they do, they do in accordance with the law of the UK, of a great, successful, hospitable country.
“Workers and their families have the right to move to a different Member State, to look for work and be employed under the same conditions as nationals of that State and benefit from the same social and tax advantages.” (nh/pg)