Vice Chair of the Green Group in the European Parliament, Jean Lambert MEP has called for action to remove the restrictions on free movement currently in place across new Member States as she launches the European Year of Workers' Mobility.
The free movement of persons is one of the four fundamental freedoms of the EU and is an essential element for EU citizens, but the transitional period, affecting new Member States for seven years, means that the community law relating to the free movement of workers does not fully apply.
Jean, who sits on the Employment and Social Affairs Committee and is London's Green MEP, today demanded that the restrictions are not prolonged; "Every citizen of the EU has a right to work and live in another member state without being discriminated against because of their nationality. The EU has a commitment to mobility but is continuing to make it difficult for New Member States to fully integrate with the rest of Europe.
"We have agreed a treaty and the new states joined the EU in agreement
to this with the understanding they would be granted freedom of movement, but
it is simply not being followed through. People have been left angry in bewilderment
that their skills are not wanted or that they are not granted equal access to
"Maintaining the transitional period would leave a lot of unanswered questions for those who are trying to be Europeans in the labour market and for those embracing mobility. Recent evidence clearly demonstrates that labour migration from the New Member States has not increased significantly and the Year of Workers' Mobility is a perfect opportunity for the transitional period to be lifted."
Jean Lambert today took part in the conference discussion on 'Free Movement and the function of transitional measures' chaired by Commissioner Vladimir Spidla, with representatives from UNICE, ETUC and ECAS.
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.
European Year of Workers' Mobility: The launch conference "Workers Mobility: a right, an option, an opportunity?' will take place in the European Parliament, Brussels on Monday 20th February 2006. The new EURES portal, providing all EU citizens with direct access to all job vacancies published by the public employment services, namely around 1 million job offers at any given time will also be launched.
The four fundamental freedoms of the EU include the free movement of
persons, services, goods and capital. The Greens believe all four freedoms should
be achievable for all EU citizens.