Free Movement of Workers in the Eu

Topics: European Union, United Kingdom, Institutions of the European Union Pages: 9 (2964 words) Published: June 7, 2012
Table of Contents

2.Free Movement of Workers within the European Union1
2.1Historical and legal background1
2.2 What are advantages and disadvantages of restrictions?2 2.3 Why do people believe that immigrants from other European countries are willing to work for lower wages?4 2.4 Advantages and disadvantages of immigration in Western EU countries5

2.4.1 What are the advantages and disadvantages of companies?6
2.4.2 How are domestic workers affected by foreign workers?7
2.4.3 What are the motives for immigration to Western welfare states?8 3.Conclusion9

The freedom of movement of workers without restrictions within the European Union has existed since 1986 when the Single European Act was created. Nevertheless, every EU enlargement, especially concerning countries with a low economic standard, leads to the question if temporary restrictions would be wise in order to protect the countries' economies.

Imposing restrictions within the European Union has positive and negative effects, but it depends on the different points of view of domestic and foreign workers, companies, the state, as well as the European Union.

Free Movement of Workers within the European Union
2.1Historical and legal background
The European integration started with the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which was established by the Treaty of Paris in 1952. This was both the start of a united Europe and the foundation for the freedom of movement (Schroeder, 2000, p. 24).

The development of the free movement of workers went on with the adoption of the Treaties of Rome, which were signed in 1957 and went into effect in 1958. They founded the European Economic Community (EEC) in order to create a common market with the freedom of movement of goods, services, people, and capital (European industrial relations dictionary, 2010).

Although these treaties facilitated the free movement of workers within the member states, there were still some exceptions concerning public health, public policy, and public security (Stoelting, 1991, p. 190 f.).

The Single European Act (SEA) of 1986, which was a modification of the Treaty of Paris and the Treaties of Rome, finally removed all barriers to the four freedoms and since then European citizens have had the right to live, work, study, and retire within the European Union (Kondonassis & Malliaris, 1996, p. 36).

2.2 What are advantages and disadvantages of restrictions?
A positive aspect of restrictions is that the domestic labour markets are protected and a negative aspect is that there is a lack of skilled workers.

Although the free movement of workers is a substantial right of EU citizens, the European Union offered the fifteen old member states the possibility to impose restrictions on this freedom in order to protect their labour markets from immigrant waves, in 2004 and 2007, when the big EU enlargements took place. These restrictions can be held up for a maximum of seven years.

In the case of the EU enlargement of 2004, twelve out of the fifteen member states have chosen to impose restrictions, and only the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden opened their labour markets instantly to workers of the new members.

After two years, there was a positive feedback of these three countries concerning the economic growth and the relations with the new member states. Despite this positive feedback, the UK and Ireland did not open their labour markets to the new member states in the second enlargement in 2007 (Craig & De Burca, 2008, p. 788 f.).

Unlike Britain and Ireland, the member states that joined in 2004 as well as Finland and Sweden instantly opened their labour markets to Bulgaria and Romania (Kahanec & Zimmermann, 2009, p. 5).

When the EU expanded in 2004, some of the fifteen existing EU countries were worried that they would be flooded by workers from Eastern and Central Europe. Due...
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