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EP Urges EU States To Lift Labor Market Restrictions Against Bulgaria, Romania By End-2011
All EU member states must allow Romanians and Bulgarians access to the labor market by the end of 2011, ahead of the 2013 deadline, says a resolution adopted Tuesday by the European Parliament, calling on the Commission to initiate infringement procedures against non-compliant Member States.
The resolution notes that "no negative effects have been reported in those Member States which have not applied the transitional measures concerning free movement of workers originating from Member States that acceded to the EU in 2004 and 2007."
Official data, including from the European Commission, shows that Eastern European workers did not create unemployment or put pressure on the welfare security systems, said Rapporteur Traian Ungureanu on Monday. He added that the inflow of labor actually brought economic growth in the countries of destination, evaluated at 1% of the GDP.
The MEPs call on EU member states "to review their provisions regulating the transitional periods for access to their labor markets" and ask the states that still restrict Bulgarian and Romanian citizens to remove these barriers by the end of 2011, ahead of the 2013 deadline stipulated in the Treaty of Accession. They argue that "in the long term, [the barriers] can have negative effects on the fundamental values and rights enshrined in the EU Treaties, such as freedom of movement, non-discrimination and solidarity and equal rights."
The Parliament "deplores the recent legislative proposals in other Member States intended to undermine the rights of workers from the Member States that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007" and "calls on the Commission to investigate whether such policies infringe EU law."
The MEPs also expressed concern with regard to the poor implementation of EU legislation on free movement of labor and especially Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of European citizens and their families to travel and reside freely in the EU.
The resolution notes that current procedures for the recognition of professional qualifications are a major hindrance to free labor movement and asks the Commission to reform EU rules on this issue.
Romanian state secretary Valentin Mocanu said, in late September, that 11 member states, including Austria, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Malta, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Spain, still restrict Romanian citizens from the labor market.
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