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Who's afraid of the brain drain?

free movement in Europe

New EU members are keen on free movement but are afraid of the brain drain. Old EU members are blocking migration but their job markets need more young workers.

In Central and Eastern Europe, fears of losing highly qualified workers, such as doctors and computer scientists, are widespread. Meanwhile, Western Europe dreads a flood of immigration. Following EU enlargement in May 2004, most of the old EU member states put in place transitional regulations concerning the free circulation of workers.

Although the three other basic freedoms of the 1957 Treaty of Rome (free circulation of services, goods and capital) still apply, the right to freely choose where to work is not quite forthcoming to workers from the new member states (with the exception of Malta and Cyprus.) Instead, it is the 2+3+2 Model which is implemented for the most part: For the duration of two years, the national governments transitional regulations will apply.

In 2006, the EU Commission will review the situation and the member states must explain and justify any further use of these restrictions. Another review will take place after three years and the restrictions can be extended for the last time for another two years.

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Cafe Babel