Romania wants EU worker restrictions lifted now
(BUCHAREST) - Gaining unfettered access to the European Union's labour market is one of the Romanian government's top priorities, Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean said Monday.
Romania and Bulgaria, two of Europe's poorest nations, joined the EU in 2007 but their accession treaties had a seven-year transition period during which other members could limit access to their labour markets.
But Romania is pushing for these restrictions to be scrapped now.
"Our efforts to lift as fast as possible all restrictions to the working market in all of the European economic area will continue at the EU and bilateral level," Corlatean said at a meeting in the capital Bucharest.
These efforts will especially target Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, Britain, the Netherlands and Spain, he said.
Other countries however have lifted restrictions, including Italy, Ireland and Norway, while France has relaxed some of its rules even as it continues to close Roma camps.
The European Commission has approved a request from recession-gripped Spain to bar Romanian workers from its labour market until December 31, 2012.
An estimated three million Romanians have emigrated in recent years, most of them headed to Italy and Spain.
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