Ilves: There can be no common market without free movement of labor
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves supported other EU leaders’ statements on Friday who have said that if the United Kingdom left the EU, the UK would not be able to maintain free trade with the union without allowing free movement of labor.
“The free movement of capital, goods, services and people is a fundamental principle of the EU and one freedom cannot be separated from another. There is no common market if the movement of migrant workers is restricted,” Ilves said at the annual Estonia’s Friends International Meeting.
Ilves pointed out that there are opposing opinions after the British referendum, and that it was too early to say what the UK leaving the EU would mean to the latter, its security, and its common market. He added that the decision of the UK was the most important event in Europe since the fall of the Soviet Union.
“We have to give some time to the UK. The Brexit supporters in the UK did not have a plan for what would happen if the referendum's result was what it was,” the president said. According to Ilves, the result constitutes a major crisis in the EU, but there is no reason for panic.
Ilves stressed that he was worried by the rise of populist political powers in democratic countries, powers that use false claims as the basis for their campaigns. The strategy was not just a characteristic of UK politics, he said, but used by populist parties across Europe and the United States.
The seventh Estonia’s Friends International Meeting that began on Thursday brought more than 100 entrepreneurs, politicians, scientists, journalists, and opinion leaders from 24 countries to Tallinn. This year’s guests flew in from the United States, India, China, Australia, Russia, Canada, and numerous European countries.