Enlargement: Commission proposes flexible transitional arrangements for the free movement of workers


IP/01/561

Brussels, 11 April 2001

Enlargement: Commission proposes flexible transitional arrangements for the free movement of workers

The European Commission agreed today to propose transitional arrangements to phase in full rights to free movement of workers for new member states. The proposal envisages a general transition period of 5 years with a possible extension by individual member states for a further 2 years. After no more than 7 years free movement of workers would operate fully across all Member States. The aim of this proposal is to meet concerns where they arise and where they are justified, while allowing for mobility of workers.

The transitional arrangements proposed today at the initiative of Enlargement Commissioner Guenther Verheugen, apply to all candidate countries excluding Cyprus and Malta. Free movement of citizens in general will not be affected by these proposals, which apply specifically to workers.

Such arrangements are a common instrument in Community life, and have been used in previous enlargements. They do not imply discrimination against the new members concerned, rather a determination to ensure that enlargement takes place as smoothly as possible. The proposed arrangements offer those areas where there may be a significant number of new arrivals in the labour market from new member states, time to adjust. This is important, not least to ensure the widest possible public acceptance of enlargement.

The transitional measures would operate as follows:



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