A study out in Britain substantiates that labour migration from Eastern Europe has been “broadly positive.” Meanwhile, Belgium appears determined to keep its labour market closed.
Driven by persistent fear from an increase in unemployment and ‘welfare tourism,’ certain old member states – among them Austria and Germany – have already declared their intention to keep their labour markets closed to workforce from the EU-8 states for at least three more years. Berlin reportedly wants to extend the restriction period until 2011.
Belgium will also keep the ‘transitional restrictions’ in place after 1 May 2006, the government decided in the last days of February.
Against the backdrop of most old member states’ reluctance to open up their labour markets, the Commission has declared 2006 the European Year of Workers’ Mobility (see EURACTIV 21 February 2006).