Channel NewsAsia

Cameron enlists support for action on EU immigration "abuse"

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Tuesday that he had reached an agreement with his German, Dutch and Swedish counterparts to tackle "abuse of free movement" in the European Union.

HARPSUND: British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Tuesday that he had reached an agreement with his German, Dutch and Swedish counterparts to tackle "abuse of free movement" in the European Union.

"We've agreed that we should work together to address the abuse of free movement," he said at a mini-summit on the European economy near Stockholm with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Ministers Fredrik Reinfeldt and Mark Rutte.

"It is a right that people should be able to move across Europe to work but they should not be able to free ride on the back of welfare systems," he added.

In the May elections, the question of eastern European immigrants allegedly competing for jobs with British citizens was a hot campaign issue for Britain's eurosceptic UK Independence Party, which became the largest party in the country -- with close to 28 per cent of the vote -- beating both Cameron's Conservatives and the Labour Party.

"We also believe the European Union needs to change in response to voters' concerns," he said.

"That was the clear message from the European elections and that has been a large part of the focus of our discussions here."

His comments were supported by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

"In order to preserve free movement of labour we need a level playing in the labour market," he said. "That means tackling abuses."

However Swedish prime minister Fredrick Reinfeldt -- a vocal proponent of more open labour immigration -- did not mention the issue and Chancellor Angela Merkel used more careful wording, mentioning "movement of workers" as an important area to develop within the EU's internal market.

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia