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 Full text 
Wednesday, 17 April 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Coordination of social security systems (debate)

  David Coburn, on behalf of the EFDD Group. – Madam President, it’s all very interesting but this is a very dangerous thing for the United Kingdom. Britain’s social security system is based on need, and not on contributions as it is on the continent. In France, for example, you can only draw out what you pay into the system. If you have not paid in, you can’t draw out. This is why migrants queue at Calais to go to the United Kingdom but they are not queuing at Dover to come to Calais. This is because the social security system is more open to people who have just arrived.

There’s nothing wrong in that. Our system is good for the system we’ve got. Your system is good for what you have. But the trouble is, the two systems are utterly incompatible. Any change to that system could bankrupt Britain’s social security system, which is one of the major reasons we voted for Brexit. We are basically concerned that it would bankrupt our social security system and put enormous stress on our health service, which is also free at point of use so people can just turn up and use the system.

This creates problems. It means that we could never have a true integration of these systems. And why should we? Why should we not have competition throughout Europe? Why should we all have some monosyllabic Soviet system which is decided by the European Council or decided by the Commission? That really isn’t going to work.

We need to have competition in wages. We have to have competition in everything. That’s what makes a vibrant economy and why the British economy is booming, despite Brexit, and the European economy is not doing very well at all. The euro looks as if it’s in a very bad state. Even Deutsche Bank is having problems and the Italian banks are all on the rocks. So, all in all, our system does seem to be superior.

Any attempt to try and make all the systems in Europe exactly the same is going to lead to one thing: a form of, I don’t know, Soviet communism, whatever. It’s a very, very bad and dangerous idea and I’m afraid Britain can have nothing to do with it, which is all the more reason for us to leave.

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