Expatica news

Restrictions to remain on new EU member states

6 February 2006

BRUSSELS — The federal government might maintain current restrictions on workers from the new EU member states for the short-term.

Federal Employment Minister Peter Vanvelthoven told unions and employers last week that the government wants to use the extra time to ward off possible abuses.

The European Union welcomed 10 new member states on 1 May 2004. Eight of the countries were members of the former Soviet Bloc.

Amid fears of a floodwave of Eastern European workers, many of the older EU member states decided to temporarily shield their labour markets from the inflow of Eastern Europeans.

A transition phase of two years was introduced, but this period could be extended by three years. The initial transition phase will end on 1 May.

European governments will need to decide prior to that date if they are to extend the transition phase.

In Belgium, Vanvelthoven is considering opting for an extension, but has hinted that it might not be necessary to use the full three-year period.

He said the extension could be shorter, but said definite measures needed to be decided on to prevent abuses of labour laws.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news