EU proposes job curbs for Central Europeans

Commission proposes five to seven year transition periods for workers from future Central and Eastern European EU Member States

The Commission proposed that the current Member States should be able to extend these periods by another two years in the event of serious disruption in their labour markets. Under the proposal, the current Member States will be able to apply their own restrictions or open their labour markets according to their individual needs. The transitional arrangements will be automatically reviewed within the first two years. There will be one more optional review per country at the request of any Member State, current or new.


The European Commission proposed general five year transition periods before full rights to free movement are granted to workers from future Member States on 11 April. The proposed transitional arrangements will apply to all ten Central and Eastern European candidate countries but not to Cyprus and Malta.


The Commission proposal stems from the request by Germany and Austria for seven year transition periods for Central and Eastern European job seekers. The two countries are expected to receive around 80 percent of all migrant workers from the candidate countries. A recent study by the Commission forecast an inflow of 3.9 million Central and Eastern European in the first 30 years after enlargement, equivalent to only 1 percent of the EU's population.

The candidate countries are concerned that their workers will be discriminated against in the enlarged EU, however, they do not have much leverage to negotiate on this issue.


Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, speaking on the behalf of the EU Presidency, said the Member States plan to start discussions on the Commission proposal for transition periods on 20 April.


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