France uncorks its jobs market to eastern Europe

28th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 28, 2006 (AFP) - France will next week open its doors to workers from eastern Europe, the employment ministry said Friday.

PARIS, April 28, 2006 (AFP) - France will next week open its doors to workers from eastern Europe, the employment ministry said Friday.

From Monday, jobs in seven key sectors will be open to eastern Europeans although employers in other industries will still be subject to restrictions on hiring workers from the region.

The industries affected by Monday's move are construction and civil engineering; catering; agriculture; mechanical engineering and metal work; processing industries; sales, and hygiene, according to press reports confirmed by the ministry.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin promised in March a "progressive and managed lifting of restrictions on the free movement" of workers from eastern Europe, saying the easing of regulations would prioritise "industries with recruitment difficulties".

Western European Union states have until Sunday evening to tell the European Commission whether they plan to keep their restrictions on workers from the 10 new EU member states.

If they fail to do so, the restrictions will automatically be lifted, a spokesman for the European Employment Commissioner Vladimir Spidla said.

Most "old Europe" governments have kept their doors shut to potential cheap labour from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia since the enlargement of the EU in 2004, amid fears that a wave of poor eastern Europeans would take advantage of rights to claim social security benefits in western Europe.

Only Great Britain, Sweden and Ireland opened their doors to workers from the 10 new member states with immediate effect when the EU was enlarged on May 1, 2004.

The remaining "old Europe" countries can choose to keep their restrictions, which include the imposition of quotas and work permits for eastern Europeans, for a further five years from Sunday.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article