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Spain takes hard line on EU expansion

Published on 23/02/2004

23 February 2004

MADRID – Spain is to apply tough restrictions after the enlargement of the European Union in May.

In this initial phase, the country can apply whatever restrictions it wants and does not need to give any justification.

On 1 May, ten new member states, including eight former communist countries, will join the European Union.

The countries are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta.

The UK and Ireland are the only existing members not to have imposed any restrictions on migrants from the new member states working.

The moves come amid widespread concern that the expansion of the EU will lead to widespread migration from the new countries to existing members.

It also comes amid a background of rising immigration to Spain.

Six percent of the population of 42 million is a foreigner. By 2015, it is predicted, one in three people in Spain will be a foreigner.

Although the largest numbers come from Ecuador, Morocco and Colombia, there are significant British and German communities living in Spain.

Subject: Spanish news