Five-year transition periods for CEEC workers?

European Commission set to propose general five-year transition periods for free-movement of citizens of future Member States

The European Commission intends to propose a general five-year transition period that will stop citizens of future Member States from seeking employment in the present EU, according to Reuters.

The news agency quoted EU diplomatic sources as saying that the Commission would back the German demand for restrictions on free movement of Eastern European job-seekers after EU enlargement. The German government, backed by Austria, seeks seven-year transition periods.

The Commission is expected to propose to EU governments on 11 April general transition periods of five years, which they could unilaterally prolong by two years.

Germany and Austria are expected to receive the greatest influx of Eastern European workers after enlargement. However, a recent study by the Commission suggested that enlargement would not trigger mass East-West migration.

Central and Eastern European countries object to such transition periods. They argue that curtailing their citizens’ right to free movement once they join the EU would turn them into second-class members.

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