The Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said he will speak to Prime Minister David Cameron about comments he made about the UK sending welfare benefits to Poland.
The two prime ministers are due to speak by phone today (08/01/14) and Mr Tusk has said singling out an EU member state over UK benefits payments is not fair.
Mr Cameron said that he wanted the EU to introduce rules which would limit access to benefits for EU migrants who move from their own countries to work elsewhere in the EU.
Mr Cameron cited the case of Polish nationals coming to the UK as one example of how the benefits system might be abused, with the UK paying benefits to people who do not live in the UK.
Mr Cameron cited the case of some Polish workers in the UK who claim benefits for children who still live in their native Poland. The Polish Prime Minister said the UK benefited from Polish children remaining in their native country, as Poland paid for their education and healthcare costs.
Mr Tusk says that he would oppose any change which would single out a particular country rather than applying across all EU member states.
“We will not agree to it if these are changes that would stigmatise any particular national minority," he said.
Polish workers first started to come to the UK under New Labour, who said that fewer than 15,000 Polish nationals would come to the UK when work restrictions were lifted on Poland. It is thought more than a million Poles now live and work in the UK.
Many Polish nationals who come to the UK to work take up essential jobs in industries such as construction and agriculture and jobs UK nationals are reluctant to take.
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