German President Horst Köhler has said during his visit to Bratislava that Berlin has no plans to lift labour movement restrictions on the EU-10 citizens.
The EU-15 states will have until the end of April 2006 to decide whether they want to keep or remove restrictions on the free movement of labour from the new member states. During his visit to Bratislava on 2 November, German President Horst Köhler said that his country is not considering lifting the labour restrictions. He also stressed that while Germany is not afraid of the influx of Slovak labour, the transitional periods were part of the accession treaties, and “treaties shall be respected”.
In his speech, Köhler recognised Slovakia’s track record in attracting foreign investment and creating new jobs. He praised the Slovak tax reform as an important incentive for the SMEs to create additional jobs. The same reform was criticised a year ago by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.
In a recent report, the Paris-based National Center for Scientific Research has called on the EU-15 to consider “rapidly lifting” the labour movement restrictions applied on the job-seekers from the EU-10 states (see EURACTIV 27 October 2005).
Meanwhile, the Dutch government is considering lifting the labour market restrictions for at least some of the new member states. During his visit to Prague, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot said that, based on a thorough assessment of his country’s labour market situation, the Netherlands will announce its decisions next April for each new member state separately.