TALLINN - The Estonian government on Sept. 27 decided not to apply labor market restrictions for Bulgarian and Romanian workers when they enter the EU in Jan. 2007.
Politicians, pundits and experts have suggested that the Baltic states will need to open up their labor markets to fill the positions left by the mass exodus of Baltic unskilled workers to work in Ireland, the U.K. and Scandinavia. Estonia has become the first Baltic state to put such a plan in place.
"Estonia has always considered full opening of the labor market within the EU borders as necessary and also when Estonia acceded to the EU it didn't consider restrictions as necessary," the government press office said. The Sept. 27 decision means that starting in 2007, as new EU members, Bulgarians and Romanians will be able to work freely in Estonia.
The proposal against applying labor market restrictions was made by the Estonian Foreign Ministry.
The Estonian Social Affairs Ministry said there was no need to restrict the access of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals to Estonia's labor market and that an influx of cheap migrant workers would have no negative effect on Estonia's robust economy, which is growing at a double-digit pace.