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Free movement of workers since the 2004 enlargement had a positive impact

Report on the Functioning of the Transitional Arrangements set out in the 2003 Accession Treaty (period 1 May 2004-30 April 2006)
Brussels, 8.2.2006
COM(2006) 48 final

This report shows that workers' mobility from the EU Member States in Central and Eastern Europe to EU15 has had mostly positive effects and has been in most countries quantitatively less important than foreseen.

Workers from EU10 helped to relieve labour market shortages and contributed to better economic performance in Europe. Countries that have not applied restrictions after May 2004 (UK, Ireland and Sweden) have experienced high economic growth, a drop of unemployment and a rise of employment.

As to the 12 EU countries using transitional arrangements, where workers managed to obtain access legally, this has contributed to a smooth integration into the labour market. However, evidence suggests that some of these countries may also have faced undesirable side-effects, such as higher levels of undeclared work and bogus self-employed work. For the EU as a whole, flows of workers have been rather limited.

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