French protectionism startles Eurosceptics

So whilst everyone’s eyes were diverted eastward at the Sochi Winter Olympics (or the unfolding insanity in Ukraine), the French ski resort mafia was out in force trying to drive these pesky British immigrants off their pistes and stop them from teaching skiing in English or something. Seriously, armed police – despite the “offenders” in question having satisfied all the relevant paperwork to the letter, so we are told.

First, it’s a not just blatant but flagrant breach of a supposedly core tenet of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union – freedom of establishment, which is specifically designed to allow self-employed Europeans to set up their businesses where they wish (subject to some specific and proportionate exceptions, of which “our snow, our ski schools” is not one), provided they pay their respective taxes – and it will no doubt be struck down as a prohibited measure soon. (There may even be a case to be argued for there having been an infringement of their ECHR Article 3 rights to liberty and security, this having been a case of false imprisonment by a public authority, but that is a case for French law.) If the case gets successfully prosecuted, then we have a more serious problem.

But what I really wanted to draw attention to today was the reaction of UKIP to the whole affair (reported in the Daily Mail, of course), sallying first into the breach with a ‘We told you! They’re evil! (EVIL, I tell you!)’:

Commenting on the latest case, UK Independence Party deputy leader Paul Nuttall said: ‘Those raging Europhiles who claim there is a single market should read this story and weep…’

So, the better plan is to leave? And how will that help Mr Butler continue his profession as a skiing instructor in France? It won’t. The red tape will be significantly increased if he attempts to work there as a non-EU national. By the same logic, one miscarriage of justice in the UK would be grounds to launch a full-scale anarchist movement ‘because it obviously wasn’t working anyway’.

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