Earlier than planned, i.e. on the very first day of its EU Presidency, France lifted the restrictions on freedom of movement for workers from the new EU Member States (except Romania and Bulgaria).
In 2006 nationals of the eastern European Member States were granted free access to employment in France, although that right was restricted to certain professional groups, so that only 40% of the French labour market was in fact accessible to the individuals in question. Even before the expiry of the transitional period in 2009, France has now decided to remove all obstacles to the free movement of workers. The fears that the partial opening-up of the labour market would lead to a massive influx of workers from eastern Europe proved unfounded and the embodiment of those fears, the 'Polish plumber', did not destroy the French labour market.
Restrictions on workers from the eastern European Member States still apply in Germany, Austria, Denmark and Belgium, however.
In the Commission’s view, how will this example set by France as one of the largest EU Member States influence the countries in which the restrictions still apply? What impact will the removal of obstacles to freedom of movement have on the French economy?