EU Opens Labour Market to Bulgarians, Romanians
Friday, 03 January 2014
Bulgarians and Romanians are able to fully exercise their right to work in all European Union member states without a work permit as of January 1, the European Commission said.
Bulgaria and Romania joined the bloc in 2007 but some member states, including Britain, France and Germany, imposed temporary labour restrictions to citizens of the EU's two poorest countries.
There are over three million people from the two countries already living in other EU member states and it is unlikely that there will be any major increase following the ending of the restrictions, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Laszlo Andor said in a statement.
The end of the restrictions comes at a time of high unemployment and tough budget adjustment in many European countries, and in hard times, mobile EU citizens are sometimes depicted as taking jobs away from local people or, on the contrary, not working and abusing social benefits schemes, Andor said. "In fact, studies have consistently shown the benefits of free movement of workers for the economies of host countries," he noted.
Mobile workers complement host country workers by helping to address skills gaps and labour shortages, and because a greater proportion of mobile workers from other EU countries are of working age compared to host countries' populations they are more likely to be employed and are generally net contributors to the welfare systems of their host countries, the EU commissioner added.