November 6, 2014 / 9:59 AM / in 3 years

Finland's Stubb echoes Merkel on UK immigration curb plans

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Freedom of movement within the European Union is sacrosanct, Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said on Thursday ahead of a meeting with his British counterpart David Cameron, who has said he’d like to curb EU immigration.

Finland's Prime Minister Alexander Stubb arrives at the European Council headquarters ahead of a EU summit in Brussels August 30, 2014. REUTERS/Laurent Dubrule

“I believe some of his points (regarding the EU) can be taken into account, but the principle of free movement, it is rather sacred... Because that is what the EU is about,” Stubb told reporters.

“It is a challenge, but Cameron must not be left alone. Our job is to discuss in an open manner and help Britain to remain as an EU member,” he said.

Under growing pressure from the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) ahead of a May 2015 national election and from some of his own lawmakers, Cameron has said he would aim to curb EU immigration if re-elected.

German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that Merkel had warned Cameron that such a policy would be a “point of no return” that could sharply increase the risk of Britain leaving the EU.

Stubb is hosting Cameron as well as premiers from Nordic and Baltic countries on Thursday and Friday in a Helsinki seminar, which is due to discuss future trends in northern Europe.

Reporting By Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Crispian Balmer

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