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Spain To Restrict Access to Romanian Workers for One Year

spain restricts romaniansBrussels has authorised Spain to temporarily restrict access to Romanian workers because of the critical unemployment situation in the country, said Employment Commissioner László Andor.

The ban is in effect until December 31st, 2012 amid a fall in GDP to -3.9 percent between 2008-2010 and the highest unemployment rate in the EU at over 20 percent since May 2010.

The continuous increase of Romanian residents in Spain and their high level of unemployment have had an impact on the capacity of Spain to absorb new inflows of workers, said Andor.

"This decision has been taken because of the very specific employment situation in Spain. As a rule, I am convinced that restricting the free movement of European workers is not the answer to high unemployment...However, the Commission understands why, at this particular juncture - because of the dramatic employment situation and the very complex financial environment - the Spanish authorities wish to step back from full free movement," said Andor.

The Spanish request is supported by factual evidence and the Accession Treaty does allow the re-imposition of temporary restrictive measures in such cases, he said.

The restrictions will apply to activities in all sectors and regions but won't affect Romanian nationals who are already employed.

On average, unemployment in the EU is 9.4% and 9.9% in the euro area. According to a survey, 30%  - or 191,400 -  Romanians in Spain are unemployed.

Next steps

The European Commission will now inform the Council of its decision and any Member State may request the Council to amend or annul the Commission's decision on the suspension of EU law within two working weeks.

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