Croatia’s Minister of Labour and Pension System Mirando Mrsić has expressed hope this week that Croats will soon be able to freely work in the majority of EU Member States which had introduced temporary restrictions on Croatian workers when the country officially joined the EU in 2013…
Speaking in Brussels, where he is attending a meeting of the European Council for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs, Mrsić said a number of bilateral talks with his counterparts have been taking place as the first period where restrictions can be lifted nears. On 1 July Croatia celebrates two years of EU membership.
“I hope that most countries which introduced restrictions on Croatian workers will remove those (after the 2-year period in July),” said Mrsić, stressing that all discussions had been positive and he was confident that they would be removed.
13 EU Member States had introduced temporary restrictions for Croatian workers when Croatia joined the EU in 2013, those nations were; Greece, France, Germany, Holland, Cyprus, Austria, UK, Slovenia, Belgium, Spain, Luxembourg, Italy and Malta. Whilst Portugal, Poland, Sweden, Romania, Hungary, Ireland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Latvia and Lithuania did not impose any restrictions.
It is expected that only three nations – Germany, Austria and the UK – will not remove restrictions for Croatian workers on 1 July. Those nations look likely to exercise the maximum period the restrictions can remain in place for – 7 years.
After speaking with his fellow European Ministers, Mrsić revealed that only a small number of work permits had been issued to Croatians in the nations where strict restrictions were in place. Luxembourg only issued 7 work permits to Croats and Holland 350. Germany however had issued around 26,000 work permits to Croats, with a large majority of those for seasonal work.