Brussels not convinced by members’ restrictions on Bulgarians, Romanians

Malta among nine EU countries keeping labour restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals.

European Commissioner for employment Laszlo Andor.
European Commissioner for employment Laszlo Andor.

Arguments by nine EU countries, Malta included, to maintain labour restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are "unconvincing", said Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner László Andor. reports Andor, speaking Friday 17 March following a meeting of EU ministers responsible for employment and social policy, staying he would request the nine countries to provide better argumentation, or change their decision.

Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands have all decided to keep restrictions on the access of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals to their labour markets until the final possible date - 31 December 2013.

According to EU rules, the countries still maintaining restrictions need to notify the Commission of the reasons why they consider that opening of their labour market would threaten their national economies.

"I will have to ask some of these countries to look more seriously at the matter," Andor is quoted as saying by Dnevnik, EurActiv's partner publication in Bulgaria. He added that he would advise the nine countries to open their labour markets partially, taking Germany as an example.

Germany has eased access to Bulgarian workers, Dnevnik reports. The Bulgarian Labour and Social Affairs Ministry says seasonal workers and Bulgarians with a university education can work for in Germany for up to six months each year, Dnevnik reports.

Bulgarian national radio quoted Andor as saying that another option would be for the nine countries to open their labour markets on 1 January 2013, a year earlier than required under Bulgaria and Romania's accession deals. Both countries joined the EU in 2007.

Unnamed experts quoted by Dnevnik warned that the Commission's leverage was limited since the 2014 date was agreed during the access process. Moreover, in times of economic crisis, it would be difficult to reject arguments that now is not the time to liberalise the labour market.

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Eluf ta' Bulgari u Rumeni jonqosna biex nigu ottu ! Huwa fatt li s-serq f'dawn il-pajjizi hu kwazi haga naturali. Nista nimmagina x'jigri f'pajjizna jekk jibda jizdied ferm aktar is-serq, apparti kriminalita ohra, u issa ghax qeghdin suppost fil-genna tal-art imsejha Unjoni Ewropeja, lil dawn il-barranin li jinstabu hatja ta' atti kriminali, ma nkunux nistghu nibghatuhom lura lejn pajjiznhom ! Imma skond Edwin Vassallo, kif smajtu jitkellem il-bierah: " Alla hares ma dhalniex fl-Unjoni Ewropeja "! Qeghdin tajjeb bl-ewro, ghax diga hallasna ghexieren ta' miljuni ta' ewros. U qed niggarantixxu xi 700 miljun ohra minhabba l-krizi tal-Grecja u pajjizi ohra fiz-zona ewro ! Eddy privitera