France to open job market to eastern EU workers

13th March 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 13, 2006 (AFP) - France will this year start opening its job market to workers from new European Union states, two years after the bloc's historic enlargement, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said on Monday.

PARIS, March 13, 2006 (AFP) - France will this year start opening its job market to workers from new European Union states, two years after the bloc's historic enlargement, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said on Monday.

Speaking following an interministerial meeting, Villepin said restrictions applying to nationals from eight central and eastern European countries would be lifted in a "gradual and controlled" manner, with a priority given to sectors facing manpower shortages.

He said the details would be worked out in agreement with French unions, almost all of which support lifting the restrictions immediately.

Fearing a mass influx of workers from poorer, former communist states following the EU's enlargement in May 2004, 12 western European countries chose to place transitional curbs on workers from these countries.

These states have until the end of April to decide whether to lift the restrictions, keep them in place for a few years or make them more flexible by, for example, limiting them to certain sectors.

The French measures apply to nationals from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia and Poland.

Three countries — Britain, Ireland and Sweden —  immediately let foreign workers in, and the European Commission says it has found no evidence of any negative impact.

Spain, Portugal and Finland decided last week to open their job markets to nationals from new EU members, although Germany, Austria and Belgium have opted to extend the restrictions.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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