HC Deb 09 February 2004 vol 417 cc1302-3W
Mr. Brazier

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage the EU to negotiate with(a) Ukraine and (b) Russia in relation to loss of markets arising from accession of the 10 new member states. [153791]

Mr. MacShane

We expect that Russian and Ukrainian exporters will benefit significantly from access to the markets of the enlarged EU and that Russia and Ukraine will experience an overall increase in levels of trade.

The EU has regular meetings with Russia and Ukraine within the framework of the EU/Russia and EU/Ukraine Partnership and Co-operation Agreements. Both Russia and Ukraine have raised the matter of trade relations with the enlarged EU during recent talks, and the EU has undertaken to address their concerns in this area.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which EU member states have agreed to unrestricted admission of workers from the newly joining states from May. [153003]

Mr. MacShane

After Accession on 1 May, nationals from the 10 new EU member states will be able to travel freely throughout the EU. However, except for nationals of Malta and Cyprus, they will not automatically be allowed to work in the existing member states. Those existing member states may open their labour markets to nationals from the new member states if they so choose. The Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark and the UK have said that they will do this.

Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands have subsequently set out certain conditions for workers for accession states to enjoy this freedom. In the case of Sweden and the Netherlands these proposals remain under discussion and have yet to be implemented.

Italy and Portugal have yet to decide whether, when or how to grant free movement of workers from the new member states.

We are right to open up the UK labour market to those who genuinely want to come here and work. It makes sense for citizens of the new member states to be able to work and contribute to our economy and pay taxes. They will expand the range of skills and supply of workers in the UK economy; and be able to work here legally, paying taxes and national insurance, not confined to the black market.

As stated in the Explanatory Memorandum for the European Union (Accessions) Act 2003 (Command Paper 5805), safeguards are available if in the event that there are "disturbances to the labour market which could seriously threaten the standard of living or level of employment in a given region or occupation".

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