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Greece Surprisingly Clamps down on Bulgarian, Romanian Migrants

Date: 20.11.2006

Greece has decided to curb immigration from Bulgaria and Romania after the two countries join the European Union in January, local reports said, contrary to all expectations in neighbouring Bulgaria.

"Stop for Bulgarians and Romanians on Greece's labour market," broke the news the Greek daily Eleftheros Typos.

Greece will introduce a moratorium on Bulgarian and Romanian migrants to apply during a transitional period of two years, the article said.

Greece, together with Spain and Italy, are the main destinations historically-speaking to Bulgarians and Romanians.

The Spanish government also approved a two-year moratorium, arguing its labour market will be distorted by such a large pool of new workers.

Still hesitating Italy said it may open its labour market to workers from Romania if Bucharest agrees to co-operate on combating organised crime. Different conditions may apply to Bulgarian workers.

Greece, Italy and Spain recently joined the liberal camp of countries that apply no labour restrictions to workers from the eight member states in central and eastern Europe that joined the EU in 2004.

Finland, Slovakia, Poland, Estonia and Latvia have so far declared readiness to apply the principle of free movement of workers to the jobseekers from Bulgaria and Romania.

UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark and Belgium approved measures to curb immigration from Romania and Bulgaria. France decided to open progressively its job market to Bulgarians and Romanians.

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