EU referendum: former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski says benefit tourism is propaganda while mayor of London Boris Johnson pushes for UK opt-out from EU open borders

 
Lauren Fedor
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Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski a
Former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski spoke at an event in Westminster (Source: Getty)

Former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski hit out at the British government’s proposals to curb welfare benefits for European migrants today, telling an audience in London that so-called benefits tourism is “propaganda”.

“This issue of benefits tourism has been set up in the public domain,” he said. “The figures don’t confirm it.

“We had 300,000 Poles in Ireland until very recently. They have all moved to Norway and Germany now,” he said, adding, “There is movement of labour in Europe, a good thing.”

Sikorksi, who was participating in a debate on the UK government’s renegotiation efforts with the EU, also suggested that Britain should consider scaling back its entire welfare system instead of restricting handouts for migrants: “If any of you showed up in Warsaw and searched for a job, we wouldn’t give you an unemployment benefit from day one, nor would we give you a housing benefit from day one.”

Separately, London mayor Boris Johnson also criticised the government’s reform efforts today, saying Prime Minister David Cameron should instead seek an opt-out from the EU’s open borders rules.

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