Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-05-04-Speech-2-229"

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"Mr President, the right to freedom of movement, that is, the right to select one’s place of residence, both in the professional and in the private sense, is one of the many important fundamental freedoms and rights enjoyed by the Union’s citizens from the beginning of its existence. This right, this freedom, is enshrined in the Treaties. It is also contained in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and has its own very practical dimensions. I refer to the abolition of internal border controls and to the elimination of all administrative barriers to settling and taking up work anywhere in the territory of the entire Union. From the first of May, citizens of the new Member States may travel throughout the Union without passports. They have been quick to exercise this right, and have enjoyed doing so from the very first day. This has given them a real feeling of belonging to the Community, even if they still have to produce identity cards at the borders. The citizens of the new Member States of the Union understand that a partial restriction on their rights to free movement is justified, until their governments are ready for full integration into the Schengen information system. The same cannot be said for the restrictions introduced by several governments concerning access to labour markets. There is no rational justification for these decisions. They are based entirely on exaggerated fears or cold political calculations with the next elections to national parliaments in mind. There is no empirical evidence that an immense wave of citizens from the new countries will flood into the old Member States of the European Union in search of work. Studies by independent research centres presented by Commissioner Wallström, for example, suggest quite the opposite. Over the course of the next five years, economic migration from the new countries of the Union to the old should not exceed 1% of the population of the ten new Members. The experience of previous enlargements suggests enlargement caused a reduction in the number of economic migrants, rather than an increase. This is what will happen this time. The citizens of the new Member States want to find work in their own countries, and they believe that membership of the Union will help them to do so. I therefore take this opportunity to appeal for restrictions on access to labour markets to be lifted as quickly as possible. This would certainly not be a disaster for the old countries. Further, the new Members of the Union would see it as a tangible sign that they too may enjoy the full rights and freedoms available to the citizens of the entire European Union."@en1

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