Tuesday

21st Nov 2017

London takes harder line on Bulgarian and Romanian workers

Britain has sent another signal suggesting a policy shift on labour market access to workers from the new EU member states, as a newspaper poll shows 77 percent of people approve of putting work restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians.

UK trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling said on Sunday (20 August) that London would allow "properly managed" migration from the two countries - likely to join the EU next year - rather than pursue an "open door" policy as it did towards workers from the ten member states that entered the bloc in 2004, the British media report.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • London hints it will apply stricter rules towards Bulgarian and Romanian workers (Photo: Notat)

"What we need to do is balance the skills that we require - and yes, our economy does require skills in various areas - and at the same time having a system that is properly managed so we can take care of all the other things we need to consider, like the healthcare system, the education system and so on," Mr Darling told BBC News 24.

His comments were made as a poll by the Sunday Times found that 77 percent of respondents wanted the UK government to set a strict limit on the number of immigrants allowed into the country each year.

A similar call has been made by several key players from both pf the main political parties in Britain.

The UK home secretary John Reid recently argued that something should be done to prevent the likely strain on the country's housing and public services after a possible influx of new workers.

The cabinet is predicting between 60,000 and 140,000 Romanians and Bulgarians will arrive in Britain in the first year after the next EU expansions.

London previously strongly underestimated the number of economic migrants, expecting up to 13,000 workers a year to move to the UK, while 600,000 have come since 2004.

The Labour chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, John Denham, suggested last week that there should be some "breathing space" before workers from the new EU entrants are allowed to work in Britain, the Independent reported.

Conservative Party immigration spokesman Damian Green argued that the government should learn from the "unprecedented numbers" who arrived in the UK after the last EU enlargement and control migration from Bulgaria and Romania.

Only Britain, Ireland and Sweden opened their labour markets to the newcomers right after they joined the EU in 2004.

Finland, Spain, Portugal and Greece lifted their barriers this year, while most other countries are relaxing them.

On the other hand, Austria and Germany have indicated they will keep the restrictions on the free movement of labour - one of the EU's fundamental pillars - for a maximum period of seven year, until 2011.

Concerning Romania and Bulgaria, most EU member states have yet to clarify their position on whether to impose temporary labour barriers against their workers or not.

UK drafts plans to limit Bulgaria and Romania migrants

The UK government is drafting a work permit scheme aimed at limiting the number of Bulgarian and Romanian jobseekers coming to Britain after the two countries join the EU, with both interior and finance ministries in favour of a regime similar to one already in place for other third country nationals.

EU posted workers face hurdles

Negotiations among the EU institutions will start soon, but could be difficult on several issues - like the inclusion of the transport sector or the duration of a posting.

EU overcomes divisions on posted workers

After a 12-hour discussion, EU employment ministers struck a compromise to reform the rules on workers posted in another country. The principle of equal pay for equal work has been adopted but the transport sector will get special treatment.

Opinion

Mind the gap: inequality in our cities

Minimum wages, 'living' wages and a universal basic income are all part of the ongoing mix to find ways to reduce social inequality across the EU.

News in Brief

  1. European Banking Authority will move to Paris
  2. EU court threatens daily fine over Polish forest logging
  3. EU medicines agency will move to Milan or Amsterdam
  4. Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Milan in next round of EMA vote
  5. Three countries pull out of medicines agency Brexit race
  6. Schulz calls for new German elections
  7. EU Commission 'confident' on German stability
  8. EU adopts new border check rules

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  2. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  3. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  4. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  5. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  7. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  8. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  9. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  11. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  12. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017