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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Who’s still afraid of EU Enlargement?

The European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) has published a second report condemning the transitional measures that deny workers from central and eastern Europe access to old EU countries’ labour markets.

The right to travel and work in another Member State is what first comes to mind for most European citizens when they think of the EU. According to the autumn 2005 Eurobarometer survey, half of citizens associate the European Union with “the freedom to travel, study and work anywhere in the EU”.

Still, 72 million Europeans from the new member states in central-eastern Europe are denied this basic freedom in around half of the EU-15 countries. So far, only eight of the EU-15 states (Ireland, Sweden, the UK, Finland, Spain, Portugal and Italy) have decided to open their borders to workers from the East.

The European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) has already published a first report, in October 2005, arguing against the so-called transitional measures that restrict the right of workers from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia to find a job in those EU-15 countries which apply the measures.

In this report ECAS elaborates its criticism and supplies more data to support it. The report also looks at economic, scientific, demographic, cultural and other benefits to be gained from the greater mobility of Europeans.