27th Feb 2024

Austria to seal off labour market for Turks

Austria will permanently seal off its labour market to Turkish workers when Turkey joins the EU, Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schussel has said in an interview.

"We will very certainly not be able, or willing, to open the Austrian labour market for – in theory – millions of Turkish workers", he told German newspaper Die Welt.

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"I say this in advance, there will be a derogation on our side, a permanent protection clause for our labour market", Mr Schussel added.

When ten new states entered the EU on 1 May 2004, it was accepted as part of the Accession Treaty that the free movement of workers could be restricted for up to seven years.

How the free movement of workers would be spelled out in the Turkish Accession Treaty is part of the negotiations yet to come.

When Turkey was given the green light to start negotiations on EU membership on 3 October, the Austrians held up the process with very specific and tough demands.

Vienna succeeded in securing three concessions during the negotiations, the chancellor claimed in the interview.

He said the three points were: that the EU must be ready before admitting more member states; the financial burden of further enlargement should be distributed equally and membership negotiations with Croatia should be launched at the same time.


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