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 Full text 
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Freedom of movement for workers within the European Union (debate)

  Iliana Ivanova (PPE). – Madam President, the end of this year is the crucial point when we all can show if we are truly committed to the idea of more Europe and a stronger Europe through more integration.

The 11 Member States that still impose this legally correct mechanism to protect their labour markets could show in reality – and not only in words – if they are open to the idea of a truly free and functioning single market where barriers for workers do not exist and every citizen can exercise his or her right to work in the entire Union.

All the studies and reports recently released by the Commission show no solid evidence of a direct link between the magnitude of labour flows from the two EU Member States and the transitional arrangements in place. On the contrary, evidence shows that the transitional measures have only had a limited influence on the distribution of intra-EU mobility, and that mobility flows are driven by other factors, such as general labour demand and language.

We are now at a stage where, if any of these 11 Member States wants to continue restrictions, that Member State has to provide clear and solid arguments for serious disturbances in its labour markets because of expected inflows of a labour force from Bulgaria and Romania.

It is very important for us to know how the Commission will assess the evidence that the Member States will present. I plead to the Commission to be a true Guardian of the Treaties and to strictly evaluate the arguments that may be presented for its attention. The criteria should be transparent and objective and should prove that the disturbances are a direct result of the opening up of the market.

I hope the Commission will show the strength to reject some of the Member States’ requests if they are not sufficiently backed by objective evidence, and I hope that my colleagues will vote in favour of the resolution tomorrow in order to reconfirm the support that the EU Parliament has always shown for the free movement of workers.

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