February 2, 2016 / 11:36 AM / in 2 years

Britain could deny new migrant benefits under EU deal: draft

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain would be justified in denying benefits to new EU migrants working in the country under proposals designed to help persuade Britons to stay in the bloc, according to a draft seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

A British Union Jack flag is seen flying near a face of the clocktower at the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The proposals, which still need to be agreed by EU leaders, would provide an emergency brake to restrict welfare benefits to newly arriving workers for up to four years, but people already in Britain would be exempt.

According to the draft, Britain is facing an “exceptional situation that the proposed safeguard mechanism is intend to cover.”

“The United Kingdom would be justified in triggering the mechanism in the full expectation of obtaining approval.”

Britain and its EU partners still need to agree how long the temporary mechanism could be in force.

Other aspects of the deal include enforcing stricter rules to avoid abuse of free-movement rights by family members who are not EU citizens.

Reporting by Robin Emmott, Jan Strupczewski, Alissa de Carbonnel; editing by Barbara Lewis

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