UK

Viviane Reding, Top EU Official, Accuses British Politicians Of Selling 'Myths' About Immigration

09/01/2014 20:09 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 21:01 GMT

British ministers are fuelling fears about European migrants to distract voters from the country's economic problems, according to a top EU official

Viviane Reding fired the broadside from Brussels on Thursday, complaining that government innuendo about an impending “invasion of foreigners”, coming to the UK to steal jobs and benefits, was “simply not true”.

viviane reding

Viviane Reding make the accusations during a web chat

Reding, the vice president of the European Commission and an advocate for a United States of Europe, chastised the UK for peddling myths about the EU and warned the British political class against adopting populist positions simply to win elections, particularly as it would have a huge hindrance on the country’s future.

Speaking during a web chat on the subject of European citizenship, Reding said: "Coming back to the subject which the Government of the UK has pushed to the agenda, probably in order not to make people speak about the real subjects in the UK, are this supposed invasion of foreigners coming to the UK and stealing the jobs and stealing the social security and the health money.

"The fact and figures, and we all know this, show it is simply not true and I do believe also that the British industry has made it very clear, putting the figures on the table and showing that the GDP of Britain rose by 3-4% because of the input of these working Europeans who come to Great Britain."

When asked is she was frustrated by Britain’s seeming indifference to the European project, she replied: "I am mostly frustrated about the political leaders because what is leadership if you just try with populistic movements and populistic speech to gain votes?

"You are destroying the future of your people, actually. That is what I'm really worried upon. That is why I ask help from all the reasonable force in Great Britain in order calmly to explain what are the optimum and the worst scenarios, also to explain what Europe is about and what Europe can do and what Europe can't do, what Europe does and what Europe does not do because most of the things which are told to the people in Great Britain are myths, have nothing to do with reality."

Reding's words echo those of the Poland's ambassador to the United Kingdom, who has defended the right of Eastern Europeans to settle in Britain and warned David Cameron not to "stigmatise" his countrymen as benefit cheats.

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