Restrictions on the free movement of Romanian workers imposed by Spain will continue to apply in 2013. On 20 December 2012, the European Commission adopted a decision authorising Madrid to deny - this year again - to Romanian workers free access to its territory. "It is at this time appropriate that restrictions should continue to apply for employed activities in the entire territory of Spain and to all sectors in view of the specific current situation in the Spanish labour market," the Commission explained in its Decision 2012/831/EU, published on 22 December in the Official Journal of the EU. This derogation to Articles 1 to 6 of Regulation 492/2011 on free movement of Romanian workers within the Union is nothing new: after having opened its labour market to all EU citizens on 1 January 2009, Spain was authorised in mid-2011 to temporarily suspend free access for Romanian workers until 31 December 2012. Given the country's economic situation, the Commission has authorised the country to extend this measure until the end of the transitional period laid down in Romania's accession treaty, ie until 31 December 2013.
PROVISIONS IN FORCE
Romania's accession treaty, signed in 2005, contains transitional provisions on the free movement of persons. Under these provisions, the free movement of workers can be suspended for a maximum period of seven years (until 31 December 2013). This period is divided into three separate phases (2+3+2 years). The second phase started on 1 January 2009 and ended on 31 December 2011. As Spain had already liberalised access to its labour market for Romanian workers and members of their family at the start of the second phase, it evoked, in 2011, the safeguard clause', which allows a member state to reintroduce restrictions if it is experiencing or can foresee serious disruptions in its labour market. In view of Spain's catastrophic situation in 2011, the Commission did not hesitate to grant it a derogation until 31 December 2012.
The Commission's analysis shows that since Spain reintroduced restrictions on Romanian workers' access to its labour market, the number of Romanian nationals in Spain...