Non-discrimination, in-work benefits, and free movement in the EU

European Journal of Political Theory 16 (2):143-163 (2017)
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The Cameron government has recently negotiated a deal with the EU which permits the UK to restrict access to in-work benefits for recent EU migrants in the first four years of residence. Withdrawing access to in-work benefits will lead to significant inequalities in pay between British workers and their EU equivalents working at the same job, in the same general situation. The proposal has been widely decried as discriminatory. Is it? I do not, in this article, ask the legal question: Does it violate anti-discrimination norms implicit in the treaties? Rather, I will ask the moral question underlying the legal one: Would, say, Polish citizens denied in-work benefits that British citizens receive be victims of wrongful discrimination? This question deserves consideration not simply because it will help us to evaluate some of the central concerns at stake in the Brexit debates but also because it will allow us to explore the role of norms against discrimination according to nationality within the EU, to address the nature of the European commitment to freedom of movement, and, in the reverse direction, to better understand our own moral commitment to anti-discrimination norms.



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Andrea Sangiovanni
King's College London

References found in this work

The Problem of Global Justice.Thomas Nagel - 2005 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 33 (2):113-147.
Distributive Justice, State Coercion, and Autonomy.Michael Blake - 2001 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 30 (3):257-296.
Global justice, reciprocity, and the state.Andrea Sangiovanni - 2007 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 35 (1):3–39.
What is discrimination?Sophia Moreau - 2010 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 38 (2):143-179.
Solidarity in the European Union.Andrea Sangiovanni - 2013 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 33 (2):213-241.

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