Ireland Reluctant on Labour Market Access to Bulgarians

Politics » BULGARIA IN EU | May 7, 2006, Sunday // 00:00

The Irish government may keep closed its labour market for Bulgarian and Romanian workers if the countries join the European Union next year, according to The Sunday Times.

A government spokesman has said it will be decided in the autumn whether labour market access will be granted to Bulgaria and Romania. The decision will be based on a number of factors, such as the labour market situation and the position taken by other member states.

By far only Finland has announced it will allow full access to its labour market to nationals of Bulgaria and Romania from the date of accession - hopefully on 1 January 2007.

Ireland is expected to insist on work-permit requirements for the new EU entrants because of business and union concerns about the impacts of global economy and job displacement.

The statements from the premier's cabinet signalled a shift in the government's position last week when he rebuked other EU leaders for failing to allow open access to their labour markets to the ten accession of May 2004.

While Ireland, the UK and Sweden allowed citizens of newly acceded countries full access to their markets on joining, it was just recently that Finland, Spain, Portugal and Greece made similar arrangements.

Organised crime is now the biggest barrier to Bulgaria's accession, even though it has introduced a raft of new anti-racketeering legislation.

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