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The government announced a number of new measures to prevent immigrants from other parts of the EU from accessing social welfare benefits, ahead of the lifting of restrictions on migrants from Romania Bulgaria.
His plans were promptly criticised by Brussels, with the EU Commission saying the freedom of movement rules for people within the bloc were "non-negotiable."
Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports from Margate, one of many places across the UK where migration is a significant issue for voters.
The European Commission has issued a warning to Prime Minister David Cameron, saying that the EU freedom of movement rules were non-negotiable, and had to be accepted if the UK wanted to remain inside the bloc.
Viviane Reding, vice-president of the EU executive, said:
EU migrants who arrived since 2000 are less likely to receive benefits and less likely to live in social housing than UK natives, and contribute more than a third in tax than they receive in benefits, new research by UCL has revealed.
- Recent immigrants (who arrived after 1999 and constituted 33% of the immigration population in 2011) were 45% less likely to receive state benefits or tax credits than UK natives over the period 200-2011.
- On average, recent EU immigrants contributed 34% more in taxes than they received in transfers.
- Recent immigrants from countries outside the EU have contributed 2% more in taxes than they received in transfers.
- UK natives' tax payments were 11% lower than the transfers they receive.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the "freedom to claim benefits" is not one the government should recognise.
Speaking to Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship, he said his proposals to restrict the benefits new migrants from within the EU can claim will become actioned into law, as he shares the public's migration concerns.
Economically inactive migrants from the European Union make up a total of between 1% and 1.2% of the total UK population, according to the EU Commission.
Britain has one of the lowest EU migrant jobless rate in the EU.
The countries with the highest number of jobless EU migrants are as follows:
- Belgium, where inactive economic migrants make up 3% of the population.
- Cyprus, where they number 4.1%.
- In Ireland a total of 3% of the population are migrants from other EU countries who are out of work.
- In Luxembourg this number jumps to 13.9%.
Bulgaria's ambassador, Konstantin Dimitrov, has criticised the tone of the debate around immigration to Britain from inside Europe, saying it has hurt his country's national pride.
Mr Dimitrov said certain politicians and members of the media were insulting and stereotyping people from his country.
The UK has one of the lowest rates of unemployment among EU migrants, with just over 7.5%, according to a study by the EU Commission, quoted by pressure group, Migration Watch.
However the UK has the highest rate of EU migrant job seekers who have never worked in the country, according to the same study.
- 7.5% of EU migrants in the UK are unemployed, compared with 7.95 of UK nationals
- The UK has the largest population of EU migrant job seekers who have never worked in their country of residence at over one third, 37% (compared to 16% in France and 18% in Germany.)
- EU migrants represent between 2% and 7% of the overall EU population
- Overall, non-active migrants form a smaller group, accounting for between 0.7% and 1% of the overall EU population, according to the EU wide survey of member countries, by the EU Commission
The free movement of European citizens is a fundamental principle which must be upheld, the President of the European Commission has warned David Cameron.
Jose Manuel Barroso said he underlined this belief to David Cameron during a telephone conversation last night where Mr Cameron informed him of his plans for a crackdown on new EU arrivals claiming benefits.
Responding to a question from ITV News Europe Correspondent Emma Murphy, Mr Barroso said free movement was "one of the most valued" principles by European Union citizens.
The 10-minute call between the pair was described as "very cordial".
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Cameron has outlined plans to stop immigrants from inside Europe claiming various benefits in a move criticised and rubbished by Brussels.