Call to open EU labour markets to Bulgarians and Romanians
A recent European Parliament resolution has said that all EU Member States should lift labour market barriers to Bulgarians and Romanians. It states that there are no real economic justifications for restricting their fundamental right to work and reside in any EU Member State.
EU countries may prolong a temporary ban on Bulgarian and Romanian workers for two additional years, i.e. until December 2013, only if they notify the Commission, by 31st December 2011, of a "serious threat" to their labour markets.
MEPs say that no negative effects have been reported in those Member States that have allowed workers from Member States that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 onto their labour markets.
Nevertheless, a number of Member States have decided to continue applying restrictions to Romanian ad Bulgarian workers, due more to political pressures than to any justified fear of negative effects on their economies or labour markets, says the resolution.
Recent Eurostat data also show that workers from Romania and Bulgaria have had no significant effect on wages and unemployment rates of the host countries. At the end of 2010, workers from Bulgaria and Romania residing in another EU country represented 0.6% of the total EU population.
The European Parliament asks the European Commission to propose a clear definition of the "serious disturbances of labour markets" required to justify restrictions. Member States that maintain restrictions without "a clear and transparent socio-economic justification of a serious labour market disturbance", in line with Court of Justice rulings, are in breach of the treaties, MEPs say, calling on the Commission to ensure compliance with the principle of free movement.
Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg Malta, the Netherlands and UK all still restrict the access of Bulgarian and Romanian workers to their labour markets. Spain is also restricting Romanian workers' access, with the Commission's approval, until 31st December 2012, due to serious disturbances on its labour market.