Bulgarian and Romanian citizens can soon take up work in Denmark, Spain and Greece, as these countries are set to remove labour market restrictions for these two new' member states that joined the EU on 1 January 2007. Spain and Greece lifted their barriers as of 1 January 2009. As of May 2009, Denmark will also remove all remaining restrictions for the EU8 countries (the ten member states that joined the Union in 2004 minus Cyprus and Malta).

However, eight other member states have announced their intention to keep their restrictions for Bulgaria and Romania in place for another three years. Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands and Austria informed the European Commission of this before 31 December 2008. France and the United Kingdom are also expected to extend their restrictions, which vary widely between the member states. Italy has yet to announce its intentions.

In November 2008, the Commission urged the old' member states to lift the restrictions still in force on the labour market access of nationals of the new' member states, considering that these countries made a "significant contribution" to the economic growth of the EU15 (see Europolitics 3641).

Every citizen of the EU has the right to work and live in another member state without being discriminated against on grounds of nationality. However, during a transitional period of up to seven years after entering the EU, certain specific conditions can be applied to this free movement of workers from, to and between the new' and old'...

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