ECAS calls on Austria and Germany to soften mobility restrictions

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In an exclusive interview with EURACTIV, Tony Venables, director of the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) talks about the problems that workers face when they move to find a job abroad in Europe.

Two and a half years after the great enlargement wave of 1 May 2004, seven ‘old’ EU member states still maintain labour-market restrictions (so-called transitional measures) for workers from the countries which joined the EU then (the ‘EU-8’). Germany and Austria both seem set to keep the barriers in place until 2009, when the next review will take place, or even until 30 April 2011, when they must definitely end. 

In two reports (see EURACTIV, 5 September 2006), ECAS took an in-depth look at all the issues around the transitional measures. ECAS came to the conclusion that “transitional arrangements should not be maintained because they create an artificial separation between ‘old’ and ‘new’ Europeans and lead to mistrust and prejudices on both sides”.

Talking to EURACTIV, ECAS Director Tony Venables highlighted that, for workers moving abroad, mobility has its drawbacks and challenges as well as opportunity. “[Workers] leave their country with a one-way ticket, 50 euro and a letter from an agency offering them maybe seasonal work and accommodation. They are not going to look at nice websites for the Year of Workers’ Mobility to check what their rights are. It is only afterward when they lose their job, when they are owed money by their employer, when they lose their accommodation, that they really get into difficulties.”

Venables says that the Commission and member states should better inform workers potentially willing to migrate on the risks they are taking, reach out to inform them while abroad and provide for better co-operation between administrations to avoid workers getting into deep trouble just because they forgot to bring some documents from their home countries. 

 

Read the full interview here

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