Helsinki considering lifting labour market restrictions

Finland has joined the ranks of those EU-15 states considering opening up their labour markets to the citizens of the new EU member states.

Half a year before the late April 2006 deadline for the EU-15 states to decide whether they want to keep or remove restrictions on the free movement of labour from the new member states, Helsinki has signalled its readiness to reconsider the ban and open its labour market. According to YLE Radio Suomi, the initiative to lift the restrictions enjoys the backing of both Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen and Labour Minister Tarja Filatov. Finland will take over the EU’s rotating presidency in the second half of 2006.

Earlier, Spain and the Netherlands also unofficially indicated their inclination to lift the labour movement restrictions. At the same time, Germany said that it will not remove the restrictions, and Austria is understood to hold the same position.

The Commission is scheduled to publish a report on the impact of the 2004 enlargement round on the EU’s labour market in January 2006

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