Dec 8, 2008
The Sofia Weekly: The Belgium cabinet decided on Friday to extend by 3 yrs. the restrictions for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals to freely access the country's labor market by keeping the current regulations allowing Bulgarians and Romanians to be hired only for jobs considered to have a shortage of employees. The decision follows similar ones recently taken by the governments of the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
The reasons cited for the Belgium decision are the global financial crisis and the high rate of unemployment in the country's Southern areas. However, the European Commission recently published a report stating that such restrictions do not contribute to the solution of the unemployment issues in EU countries.
Belgium, however, decided to take advantage of the provision giving them the right to restrict access to labor markets for up to 7 years. The 1st transitional period, in which EU member states could limit the access of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens to their labor markets after the 2 states joined the EU on Jan. 1, 2007, expires on Jan. 1, 2009. After that each individual EU member may decide to extend the ban for 3more years - until Jan. 1, 2012, when a 2nd extension of the labor restrictions for a 2 year period is also allowed.
So...I guess look forward to 2014, Bulgaria and Romania. It could be worse. You could be Ukraine.