Central Europeans free to migrate to and work in Spain


The Spanish government has announced that unlike other EU countries it will not renew restrictions for workers from 8 Eastern Central European countries when they run out on 1 May 2006. 

The decision was officially announced on the occasion of Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz’ visit to Spain on 9 March 2006, three weeks after hints from the government in Madrid that the restrictions for Central Eastern Europeans are set to be lifted. The Finnish government has also proposed to lift the ban on workers from Eastern Central Europe. 

Eastern Central European workers may soon be able to offer their services in 7 out of the EU’s 15 old member states, if Belgium and Portugal follow earlier decisions by Britain, Ireland and Sweden to allow unrestricted access to their labour markets. Other important countries, such as Germany, Austria, Denmark, Italy and France – all with governments led by conservative parties – are set, however, to renew the ban for workers from the 8 new member states from behind the former iron curtain. 

At their 9 March meeting, Marcinkiewicz and his Spanish colleague José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero agreed on a joint initiative for more assistance to the EU’s border countries for controlling immigration. Spain will also put its experience of using EU subsidies to raise the country’s welfare at the disposal of Poland. Zapatero said, “The political and personal climate between the two governments is very favourable. Together we can do many things in the realm of the European Union.”

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