EU REBELLION: How France, Germany and Belgium BEND freedom of movement rules


Interposed with the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, freedom of movement has allowed, since then, millions of European denizens to travel and seek work freely across EU member states without the distress for a visa. Over the last decade, this fundamental right at the pit of all European cooperation among member states has caused divide and argument for those who lived in the richest nations of the bloc. Euroscepticism, which was at a sentiment advocated by those who demanded independence from the legislative scheme imposed by the EU, saw a spike in the continent’s political landscape thanks to a renewed adversity approaching the uncontrolled immigration caused by freedom of movement of people.

The Brexit preference unleashed a stronger sense of rebellion in other European countries. Europeans started speech their frustration against EU constraints on their economies and jobs by call it a day to newly formed anti-establishment political parties and those like Ukip that had had teeny-weeny success until then.

EU countries considered to be at the heart of the EU’s integration such as Belgium and Germany, also begun to arrogate measures against freedom of movement rules with characteristics that were gentle to be bent. Belgium has expelled thousands of unemployed EU citizens last year.

In Germany, EU nationals contain to apply for a residence card if they wish to work. This liable act can be withdrawn for various reasons, after which the holder is required to be off Germany or be forcibly expelled.

In France, some local and regional arbiter governments have even insisted on the use of the French language should be mandatory on buyers building sites – contrary to EU law.

The so-called Moliere clause was adopted by six of France’s 13 ambits in March 2017. The law was introduced by Valerie Pecresse, the conservative head of the wider Paris locality in an effort to stop companies from hiring low0paid EU workers.

She also legitimated it as a security issue – workers might not be able to communicate unless they cut a common language. It was later rejected by the French government in May 2017. The superintendence ruled that the clause “cannot validly claim that it is there to keep safe workers, given the guarantees that are provided by European and national law.”  

Amandine Crespy, Public Science Professor at the Université Libre of Brussels, claimed the deployment of caveats to limit emancipation of movement in EU countries was a response to public concerns and a clear shift in current European politics.

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EU news: Has freedom of movement affected the rise of populism in the EU? (Representation: GETTY)

Speaking to, she said: “Officially and historically Belgium is one of the infinitesimal eurosceptic countries. “But this is a sign that Belgium is normalising in this way in the coherence that this core right, the freedom of movement, has reduced or softened in many countries.

“For instance, France has also taken measures to fortify controls at the border.

“So to use the measures within the Schengen agreement that are theoretical to be exceptional but are not supposed to be permanent limitation to the freedom of movement.

“And also with the refugees and the pink steps that have been taken during the refugee danger by countries like Hungary and others certainly we can see that some offs that were taken for granted in the past, some ten years ago, are no lengthier taken for granted.

“And national governments across the board are much diverse ready to respond to some concerns or what they perceive as concerns from the populace by limiting those European rights.

“So national governments see that this can be worthwhile in electoral terms, to be active on that side and they proceed much the same as people demand in terms of security or in terms of people feeling daunted economically or culturally by European citizens establishing themselves and maybe clothing access to social benefits in their home countries.”

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Nigel Farage, one-time Ukip leader and British MEP (Image: GETTY)

France has also charmed measures to reinforce controls at the border

Amandine Crespy, Political Principles Professor

She warned EU institutions could no longer ignore the political air despite their natural incline to safeguard the regulatory structure built with lassitude over the years.

Ms Crespy added: “On the one hand the EU institutions’ natural embankment in European politics is certainly to preserve what has been built down the years and the rights that exists and the rules that have been consented a long time ago among member states.

“But on the other hand, the Commission as trickle as the European Court of Justice can’t ignore the current political climate.

“It’s a state choice, it’s a normative decision that European citizens and people who are elected by them fool to decide on.

“One thing for sure is that this is a central, if not the central, straight and cornerstone of the single market and of the European Union.

“And if there is such a matter as European citizenship then freedom of movement is a cornerstone of it.

“So if it was to be abolished there wouldn’t continue much of the single market from the passport to the circulation of goods all of a add up to member states.”

In Britain, the UK Independence Party – whose key policy was to desert the European Union – saw its biggest political twist and success in 2014. The platoon suddenly became the new anti-governmental party of choice for the anti-politics vote.

The fete won its first ever Westminster seat in October 2013, after the Stable MP for Clacton, Douglas Carswell, defected. Thamid Chowdhury, co-founder of the Being’s Challenge campaign and Charity Here for Good, believes one of the factors that flirted in favour of Ukip’s and other populists, eurosceptic parties across the bloc was margin of movement.

He said: “I think when things are difficult people on often try to latch onto a particular issue and put all of their problems underwater that particular issue.

“In this case, I think it was freedom of action. I’m not making a judgment of whether that’s right or wrong.

“I think there were patently problems and demands on services that led people to reach that conclusion.

“It wasn’t resolved out of the sky. There were reasons because people felt the animosity promoting the EU and freedom of movement.

“And when it came to the recession and all of the effects of austerity since then, whatever your governmental beliefs I think it’s accurate to say that freedom of movement – and people’s perspective that people were taking advantage of freedom of movement declares – definitely did factor into the rise of Ukip and the rise of euroscepticism more principally.”


The UK’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016 was an unexpected consequence of Ukip’s good in the 2014 European elections.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage led the Brexit run for the UK to leave the Brussels bloc. The debate around the UK’s exit was dominated – volume other things- by anti-immigration sentiments.

While most Remain helpers believed it was important to remain in the EU single market, most of those who sponsored Leave argued ending freedom of movement was more important.

In any way, Mr Chowdhury claimed it was not the concept of freedom of movement per se that pushed people to bear witness the EU in 2016, but rather the instrumentalisation of the core EU freedom by political parties in the UK beyond the last decade for their own political ends.

He said: “I don’t think there was a puzzle with freedom of movement itself, I think there was a problem with how representatives grabbled with that as an issue.

“It’s really easy to say ‘this isn’t our criticize, this isn’t our responsibility’ – which happened across lots of parties – and say ‘this is the deduce we can’t do this, this is the reason that we have a strain on the NHS, because we yearn for to bring immigration down to the tens of thousands’. “I don’t think that’s an engrained problem with freedom of movement, I think it’s a problem with how people employed freedom of movement for their own political ends.”

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Luigi Di Maio, Giuseppe Conte and Matteo Salvini (Representative: GETTY)

In March 2017, Italian anti-immigration and eurosceptic party Lega saw an uprise of 15 percent in the votes.

And Italian anti-establishment party Five Star Movement became the largest unit in the country with 35 percent of the votes in its favour.

The two previously unpropitious partnered groups suddenly found themselves responding to similar requirements from Italian people, who expressed with their votes the want to rebel to years of austerity dictated by European economic policies.

Brass of movement might have not been a direct consequence of the eurosceptic feeling in Italy, but the introduction of one of the four single market’s freedoms had a knock-on-effect on the grosser unaddressed issue of immigration.

Italian Political Science Professor Sergio Fabbrini demanded the EU failed with the introduction of the Schengen Area to think of a common edge policy that would protect the citizens of those countries multifarious exposed to incoming mass-migration.

He said: “The EU didn’t support Schengen with a choose European border policy.

“So it was easy for somebody to enter within the patch of freedom of movement and then move around.”

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Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission (Symbol: GETTY)

But the biggest blow to the European Union came at the end of 2018 when Italy, Austria and Switzerland abstained from signify ones opinion on the United Nations (UN) Global Compact for Migration.

In the bloc, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic balloted against the deal. The United States and Israel also rejected the proposition.

A report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which monitors extremism online, looked at the analysis surrounding the UN deal in Europe. Analysing tweets and posts on YouTube and Facebook, the researchers initiate that “right-wing extremist and right-wing populist actors played a lopsided role” in influencing the discussion around the deal before last October.

The questioning around the UN migration pact led to the collapse of the Belgian Government.

Czech Writer Petr Kratochvil claimed the Czech Republic, “one of the most eurosceptic nations in Europe”, has a completely different approach to migration and freedom of movement.

Yet, its point of view towards migration resulted in exactly the same rebellion towards the Brussels practices.

Mr Kratochvil said: “On the one hand if you ask Czechs what they consider the most worthy things about the EU or about our EU membership, one of the first things they wish say is freedom of movement.

“Because it’s a small country and many people mollify remember the Communist Party and we could not cross the border to Austria and Germany.

“Then the position changed and people travel a lot across the continent, so this idea of exemption of movement is very much seen by the population as one of the biggest contributions and drops of the EU.

“But of course if you ask the other way around ‘are you in favour of free movement of migrants’ the inclination changes.”

The fortunes of far-right and other populist movements are among the most-watched puts ahead of the EU election.

The parties grouped in European Parliament’s eurosceptic and directly anti-EU groups may end up being an even bigger force than they are now. The latest registers foresee them winning about 155 out of the next Parliament’s 705 domiciles.

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