Workers’ mobility obstacles remain across Europe

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A Lille conference takes stock of employment issues in 2006.

The conference ‘A Mobility Strategy for the EU’, launched on 11 December 2006 in Lille is highlighting, among other issues, aspects of the family-employment situation and the employment of spouses, the cross-border dimension of mobility and the removal of legal and administrative obstacles.

Regulatory obstacles to workers’ mobility remain high throughout the EU, especially in the ‘old’ member states such as Germany, France and the Netherlands, while the United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries have a more liberal approach.

Besides the language problem, partner mobility is a main obstacle in the EU, says Kees Zandvliet, researcher at the University of Rotterdam. His upcoming study will highlight the problem of spouse employment in the EU-27 and Turkey. 

Another study by Price Waterhouse Coopers draws similar conclusions. The main obstacles identified are different tax systems, health care and a lack of harmonised employment legislation. Other barriers to mobility include partner employment, as well as finding housing and schools.

EURACTIV has closely followed workers’ mobility issues throughout the year under its workers’ mobility section with the support of its CrossLingual network.

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