Commission to recommend 4-year transition for CEEC workers?

Commission expected to recommend 4-year transition period for free movement of Eastern Europeans after enlargement

According to theFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Commission will recommend four-year transition periods after enlargement before Eastern Europeans are allowed to work in the current EU Member States. The working paper is said to recommend the possibility of lifting the restrictions after a two-year period.

The German daily says the Commission recommended this in a document that is to be submitted to the Council of Ministers in the near future. Commission Spokesman Johnathan Faull denied the report, saying that the Commission working document does not contain any recommendations. The Commission said that the document contained five different options, all without figures and recommendations.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder requested a controversial seven-year transition period for Eastern European job seekers in December, which was refused by all the candidate countries. The German government is concerned about wage differentials and poor job prospects in Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania.

Despite the lack of a common position on this issue among the EU Member States, Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi said he expected to close negotiations on the free movement of goods, services, people and capital by June. Martonyi said that the German request to limit the right of Eastern European workers to seek employment in the EU “is likely to appear in some form or other”.

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