Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Eastern workers yesterday and tomorrow - but never today.

Germany will today decide to block Eastern workers for at least three more years. If this goes through it will put a damper on immigration.

The conservative-social democrat government in Berlin is voting, on 21 March 2006, to exclude workers from eight Central European countries from its labour market until 2009.

In blocking access to its labour market, the coalition led by Angela Merkel (Christian Democrat) is acting against a Commission recommendation. The EU executive has examined the labour markets of Britain and Ireland, which did not block access to workers from the east after the 2004 EU enlargement, and came to the conclusion that the two countries have profited economically from the decision.

The Merkel government, however, has already laid down in its coalition agreement that "at this time and given the developments in German labour market policy and economic policy, the extension of the transitional measures on the mobility of workers from the ten new accession countries seems to be necessary."

In fact the measures apply only to workers from the eight Central and Eastern European member states. The German coalition added that "the measures have protected the German labour market from increased migration." At the time of the conclusion of this agreement, German ministers hinted that the government might try to extend the measures until as late as 2011, the date when they will have to be lifted for the whole EU

Not the best move in the long term, nor the short. Those Eastern immigrants/workers are not going to wait until Germany decides to open its borders and on the short term they are missing out on some very motivated individuals.

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