Schroeder: broad support for labour restrictions

At an EU summit in Stockholm, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has claimed broad support for his proposal to impose temporary restrictions on the free movement of labour from candidate countries, including the Czech Republic, after EU enlargement. The Czech Republic and other candidate countries have called for full freedom of movement for their workers after they join the Union, but there are widespread concerns in some EU member states, in particular Germany and Austria, which share borders with some of the former Communist candidate countries, that enlargement will bring an influx of cheap labour into their workforces. Chancellor Schroeder has proposed a seven-year transition period after enlargement before relaxing restrictions on the free movement of labour, and told journalists in Stockholm that his proposal is becoming generally accepted.