Netherlands opens up to east-European workers

The Netherlands is to open its borders to workers from Poland and other central European states that joined the EU in 2004, but leave Bulgarian and Romanian workers outside.

Social Affairs Minister Henk van Hoof recommends opening Dutch borders to workers from central Europe. In a recent letter to the parliament, he wrote: “The situation on the Dutch labour market is such that free movement of workers from the new member states is desirable.” 

So far, only eight member states from the ‘old’ EU-15 – the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain – have lifted restrictions on migrant workers from the ten countries that joined the EU in 2004. Other countries, such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France and Luxembourg are, however, gradually opening up their labour markets.

The Dutch labour-market opening will not involve workers from Bulgaria and Romania, the two member states that joined in 2007.

The parliament’s upper chamber is to vote on the opening of the labour market on 27 February 2007.

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