David Cameron started off demanding the right to control immigration from the EU to help bring net immigration into the UK under 100,000 but was told no. Official net immigration last year in excess of 336,000. So instead he demanded the right to prevent EU immigrants from claiming in-work benefits like working tax credit or universal credit for 4 years but he was told no. Now he's planning to change the rules so that nobody can claim benefits until they've had a National Insurance number for four years after the age of 18.
It's easy to see why the Tories would try and claim that as a victory because it stops EU immigrants claiming benefits for four years like Cameron said he would but it changes nothing. The EU's refusal to agree to Cameron's demands has been a refusal to allow EU citizens in the UK to be treated differently to UK citizens, not the principal of preventing them from claiming benefits. If the British government chooses to change the rules to prevent UK citizens from claiming benefits for four years - something that is not within the competence of the EU - then they can have no objection to that being applied to EU immigrants as well because that's treating them the same as UK citizens. It is simply doing exactly as the EU requires, exactly as he has been told by Angela Merkel and a complete and unequivocal capitulation.
|UK Citizen||EU Citizen|
|Current Rules||Over 18 and actively seeking work||Same as UK citizen|
|New Rules||Over 22, had a National Insurance number for four years and actively seeking work||Same as UK citizen|