Latvia speaks against discrimination in UK-proposed EU reforms

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Latvia supports an economically strong United Kingdom remaining an EU member state. However, Latvia is against some of the reforms proposed by David Cameron, specifically the proposal to halt in-work welfare payments to EU migrants, reported Latvian Television Monday.

According to Raimonds Jansons, a representative of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the reforms that touch upon social welfare are only one of the proposals. Latvia and most other member states object specifically against the different approach that the British PM proposes to apply to foreigners working in the United Kingdom. The proposal is to make them eligible to receive benefits only a few years after they've immigrated, not immediately as it is now.

"We think that - and we have stressed this to our partners in the United Kingdom and other EU member states - we have to stick to a principle of non-discrimination.

It means that EU citizens should not be discriminated based on which EU member state they come from," said Raimonds Jansons, Press Secretary at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Jansons said that the matter is no only about protecting the United Kingdom from welfare tourists, because all developed countries are facing this problem. If such a sorting takes place, it would be a great factor affecting the existence of the EU single market. Free movement and the ability to choose one's place of residence is one of the most important cornerstones of the EU.

The proposals, voiced during the Riga Eastern Partnership Summit, would ban EU migrants’ from claiming in-work benefits in the UK for four years.

While the Baltic states have been rather reserved, Poland, the largest Eastern European EU member state, has protested loudly against the projected welfare access cuts.

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