EU Warns UK on Anti-Immigration Agenda

EU Warns UK on Anti-Immigration AgendaEU Warns UK on Anti-Immigration Agenda

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday he risked upsetting allies and losing international clout if he pursued an anti-immigration agenda designed to placate domestic voters, Reuters reported.

Cameron retorted that British voters were concerned about immigration, and he was responding to those concerns. He rejected Barroso's criticism, saying the British people were his boss and he answered to them.

"We need to address people's concerns about immigration," he told reporters on Monday. "They want this issue fixed, they're not being unreasonable about it and I will fix it."

Cameron hopes to persuade voters that he has a workable plan to address their concerns over immigration. He also wants to curtail the growing support for the anti-EU UK Independence party (UKIP), which threatens his chances at next year's vote.

Barroso, whose 10-year term as head of the EU's executive body ends next month, warned Cameron against trying to seek changes to the EU's freedom of movement rules, saying they were essential to the bloc's internal market.

He stated that by engaging in such rhetoric on immigration, the UK risks isolating itself in Europe and undermining its attempts to achieve wider reforms.

"It would be an historic mistake if on these issues UK were to continue to alienate its natural allies in central and eastern Europe," Barroso said.

Cameron has broadly outlined areas in which he wants to win reform from the EU, such as migration controls, retaining lawmaking powers at a national level and cutting red-tape for businesses. Cameron has long said he would like the UK to stay in a reformed EU, but British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said last week the bloc would have to come up with a meaty reform deal if it wanted to avoid a break.