German Chancellor calls for seven-year transition period for free movement of labour

On Monday, Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder sought to allay fears in his country over a possible influx of cheap labour from East European countries following EU expansion. Chancellor Schroeder announced in a speech in the Bavarian town of Weiden, a border town where such fears abound, that Germany would call for a seven-year transition period following accession, in which unskilled labourers from new member countries would not have freedom of movement, as guaranteed by the Schengen Treaty, The German Chancellor said the measure could be relaxed if no massive influx took place, and he also claimed this would also protect skilled workers in the new member states. Nick Carey spoke to political commentator Jiri Pehe, and asked him first of all whether Chancellor Schroeder was merely using the issue for political gain: