The UK government may introduce a mandatory identity card scheme for EU citizens, according to British newspaper The Guardian. Although all EU citizens would have to carry ID cards, the move appears to be motivated by fears over immigration from Romania and Bulgaria when transitional controls are lifted next year and normal EU rights extended to citizens of the two countries.
The UK Home Office announced yesterday (February 25 ) that a GBP 55 (around EUR 64 ) fee would be introduced for EU citizens registering for the current voluntary scheme. This, according to The Guardian, suggests that a mandatory registration scheme could be on the way, after UK immigration minister Mark Harper (in picture) said that the government was looking at the idea earlier in February.
If put in place, EU citizens staying in the UK for more than three months would have to register, which would allow the government to restrict access to state services, such as healthcare and welfare benefits. According to The Guardian, the idea was first put forward by Philip Hollobone, an MP from ruling coalition partner the Conservative party, who made reference to rules on registration already in place in Spain. However, what was not mentioned was that Spain already has a mandatory ID card system for Spanish nationals in place, which the UK does not have for its own citizens.
The Guardian story also quotes a British MEP who warns that such a move would risk reciprocal restrictions on UK citizens elsewhere in the EU, as well as referencing assurances given by Romanian PM Victor Ponta in another British newspaper The Times. Ponta said that Romania needs Romanian workers and that they will be too busy developing their own country to go to the UK, in an article for The Times.
Read The Guardian article European citizens in Britain will be charged for ID cards.
Liam Lever, firstname.lastname@example.org