OSBORNE: UKRAINE 'MANY YEARS OFF' FROM FROM FREE MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE WITHIN EU

13.05.16


During a Treasury Committee meeting held in Parliament on Wednesday, Chancellor George Osborne took questions on the economic and financial costs and benefits of the UK's EU membership. When asked specifically about where negotiations were at in respect of four countries wanting to join the EU, the Chancellor responded in very general terms but was of the view that (at the very least) Ukraine was 'many years off' (if not 'many many years off') from its people being allowed to move freely within the EU. 

The exact exchange reads:

Helen Goodman MP:  "Migration is quite a concern among my constituents. Those people who are unenthusiastic about staying in Europe raise this with me a lot. Last week, I noticed that they were expressing concerns about Albania, Serbia, Ukraine and Turkey joining the EU and, in their words, hundreds of millions of more people being able to come. Could you just bring us up to date on where negotiations are with those four countries? How big a risk do you think this is? This is obviously a worry to many people. "

George Osborne MP: "They are all many years off. Indeed, some are very many, many years off, if at all. The Prime Minister made it clear in relation to Turkey, not that he was asked about Ukraine, but I am sure the same would apply to Ukraine. When it comes to the Balkan countries, they are part of accession programmes, but there are still many years to go with those. Of course, we have a veto on any country joining the EU and we have made it absolutely clear that we would not accept free movement of people from new accession states unless the GDPs of those countries had risen to the kinds of levels we see in Western Europe."

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