EU rebukes UK over freedom of movement laws

2012-04-26 15:03
Brussels - The European Commission gave Britain an ultimatum on Thursday to respect the freedom of movement of EU citizens, threatening court action should it fail to abide by EU laws within two months.

"As one of the EU's larger member states, the UK is home to around two million citizens from other EU countries. It is therefore important that UK laws respect their rights," the European Union's executive arm said in a statement.

Under the rules, foreign family members of an EU citizen can travel to any country in the 27-nation bloc without an entry visa when they are accompanied by the citizen and hold a residence card issued by an EU state.

"The UK laws do not grant this important right which lies at the heart of free movement," the commission said.

Another issue raised by the commission was the treatment of Bulgarian and Romanian workers.

Britain is not issuing workers from Romania and Bulgaria the same residence documents given to those from the 25 other EU states during the first 12 months of living there, the EU executive said.

London has yet to apply EU rules in two other areas, including on health insurance for EU citizens and residency applications for extended family members of EU nationals.

EU states can face big fines if they lose cases before the European Court of Justice.

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