Colin's Journal

Colin's Journal: A place for thoughts about politics, software, and daily life.

September 12th, 2003

Denmark heading the wrong way

It appears that Denmark is planning to restrict the rights of new EU member nationals to obtain residency and work permits. Presumably this is only going to be valid for the maximum of seven years that was agreed on during negotiations, after which these new EU citizens can take up their full rights to freedom of movement (from the Europa FAQ):

However, in order to allow for concerns in existing member states the EU negotiated transitional arrangements of a flexible nature with the Central and East European Countries, to allow the existing member states to limit movements of workers from the new member states for a period of up to seven years after enlargement. Members wishing to allow free movement sooner may do so, and some have already announced their intention to do so from the time of the accession of the new members.

By restricting access to the Danish labour market the cost of low skilled jobs will remain artificially high, so reducing the competitiveness of Denmark as a place to practise higher skilled jobs. Costs for people living in Denmark will be higher, and the system will be promoting lower skilled jobs which will ultimately prove to be less profitable for those following this route. The only saving grace is that the EU will insist on this being a temporary measure and, as is explained in the FAQ, it will probably prove unnecessary:

When Spain and Portugal joined in 1986, a transitional period of seven years was agreed. However, the strengthening of the economy in Spain and Portugal after they became members triggered migration of labour back to those countries, and the transitional period was shortened.

The UK is one of the countries that is choosing to recognise the right to freedom of movement immediately (point 6 in this explanatory note) from the 1st of January 2004.

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Copyright 2015 Colin Stewart

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