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Loki
Saturday, January 31st, 2004, 10:01 AM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/eu/story/0,7369,1135831,00.html

Sweden backtracks on new EU workers

Ian Black, European editor
Saturday January 31, 2004
The Guardian

Sweden has become the latest EU state to restrict entry for workers from the 10 countries joining the union in May, for fear that its welfare systems will come under unacceptable pressure.
Yesterday's u-turn by Goran Persson, the social democratic prime minister, means that all the existing member states except Britain and Ireland will impose some limits.

Germany, France and Italy had long made clear that they would retain immigration controls after Europe's biggest enlargement. But Denmark, the Netherlands, Greece and now Sweden have changed course.

Britain stands by its decision to allow free entry to citizens of the new member states. Rules are in place to prevent the abuse of the benefit system, as are special controls in case they are needed, a government spokesman said. But the British economy needs cheap, skilled workers.

It is estimated that between 5,000 and 13,000 people a year are likely to come to Britain from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta.

The 10 newcomers will have to wait until 2011 for the full implementation of the EU's principle of free movement of people, goods and capital. But restrictions seem certain to cause resentment.

"We see many counties are starting to question the idea of fully open borders and are, in a sense, going back on their word," Jerzy Czepulkowski, the deputy head of the Polish parliament's European committee, protested last night.

Germany and Austria fear an influx of cheap labour from Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary - and their restrictions are expected to last for the maximum seven years.

In 2002 Mr Persson pledged that Sweden would not limit access for workers from the new member states. But yesterday he was unrepentant. "We have to be realistic and understand that if everyone else says transition arrange ments are necessary, then we must also be aware of the risks and protect ourselves," he said.

"We would be naive if we didn't see the risks if we were to be the only country welcoming people from east Europe to work for peanuts and giving them access to our social benefits."

Last week the Netherlands decided to restrict to 22,000 the number of work permits granted, amid rising unemployment and anti-immigrant feeling. Denmark, where anti-immigration feeling has also mounted in recent years, has imposed similar restrictions, initially for two years.

The feared influx of cheap labour did not materialise when Spain and Portugal joined in 1986. But they were relatively rich countries. In 1989 the UNHCR predicted that 25 million people from communist bloc would move to the west in the 90s; it turned out to be fewer than 2.5 million.

EU officials insist the best way to stem flows of migrants is to strengthen growth, job creation and investment in the new member states.

Gesta Bellica
Saturday, January 31st, 2004, 11:49 AM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/eu/story/0,7369,1135831,00.html

Sweden backtracks on new EU workers

Ian Black, European editor
Saturday January 31, 2004
The Guardian

Sweden has become the latest EU state to restrict entry for workers from the 10 countries joining the union in May, for fear that its welfare systems will come under unacceptable pressure.
Yesterday's u-turn by Goran Persson, the social democratic prime minister, means that all the existing member states except Britain and Ireland will impose some limits.

Germany, France and Italy had long made clear that they would retain immigration controls after Europe's biggest enlargement. But Denmark, the Netherlands, Greece and now Sweden have changed course.

Britain stands by its decision to allow free entry to citizens of the new member states. Rules are in place to prevent the abuse of the benefit system, as are special controls in case they are needed, a government spokesman said. But the British economy needs cheap, skilled workers.

It is estimated that between 5,000 and 13,000 people a year are likely to come to Britain from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta.

The 10 newcomers will have to wait until 2011 for the full implementation of the EU's principle of free movement of people, goods and capital. But restrictions seem certain to cause resentment.

"We see many counties are starting to question the idea of fully open borders and are, in a sense, going back on their word," Jerzy Czepulkowski, the deputy head of the Polish parliament's European committee, protested last night.

Germany and Austria fear an influx of cheap labour from Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary - and their restrictions are expected to last for the maximum seven years.

In 2002 Mr Persson pledged that Sweden would not limit access for workers from the new member states. But yesterday he was unrepentant. "We have to be realistic and understand that if everyone else says transition arrange ments are necessary, then we must also be aware of the risks and protect ourselves," he said.

"We would be naive if we didn't see the risks if we were to be the only country welcoming people from east Europe to work for peanuts and giving them access to our social benefits."

Last week the Netherlands decided to restrict to 22,000 the number of work permits granted, amid rising unemployment and anti-immigrant feeling. Denmark, where anti-immigration feeling has also mounted in recent years, has imposed similar restrictions, initially for two years.

The feared influx of cheap labour did not materialise when Spain and Portugal joined in 1986. But they were relatively rich countries. In 1989 the UNHCR predicted that 25 million people from communist bloc would move to the west in the 90s; it turned out to be fewer than 2.5 million.

EU officials insist the best way to stem flows of migrants is to strengthen growth, job creation and investment in the new member states.

It's a good thing also for the new EU countries.
Along with gypsies and criminals also a lot of young workers would eventually mover abroad leaving those countries without important intellectual resources..

Loki
Saturday, January 31st, 2004, 11:59 AM
It's a good thing also for the new EU countries.
Along with gypsies and criminals also a lot of young workers would eventually mover abroad leaving those countries without important intellectual resources..

Absolutely - good point.