Following the UK Conservatives' victory in Thursday's general elections, Prime Minister David Cameron will have to keep his promise to call a referendum on the country's EU membership, and the immigration policy is likely to be tightened, Lithuanian political scientists say.
"The issue of renegotiation of Britain's EU membership conditions will undoubtedly arise as well as Cameron's referendum on the issue in 2017. If they no longer need the Liberal Democrats' partnership in the coalition, this outlook is even more likely as the Liberal Democrats have clearly stated that they are in favour of EU membership," Professor Ramūnas Vilpišauskas, director of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science at Vilnius University, told BNS on Friday.
"I think a discussion will now start between Britain and its EU partners and that will not be an easy discussion as work and living conditions of immigrants from other EU member states will probably be one of the key issues," he said.
Giedrius Česnakas of Vytautas Magnus University says the British voters supported the Conservatives "for the ongoing economic reforms promoting economic recovery to be continued".
And any new measures regarding immigrants from Romania, Bulgaria, Poland or Lithuania will depend precisely on economic tendencies, he stressed.
"The British economy is now growing. Anti-immigration tendencies were clearly visible during the election campaign, but I doubt there will be any strong demands. But if the economy starts stalling, anti-immigration tendencies will reemerge as it usually happens when the economy slows down," the expert said.
Česnakas also noted the success of the Scottish National Party in these general elections. It was partly determined by the loss of votes by the major opposition Labour Party. Such tendencies reflect the growing risk of the UK's split, the expert said.