The European Commission launched the world's biggest job advertising blitz this week. European officials announced plans to introduce an EU work permit - dubbed the Blue Card. It's inspired by the famous Green Card in the US and is designed to attract would-be migrants normally headed for North America or Australia. And to match the EU flag, it's of course a Blue Card - not a green one. Why does Europe needs such a card?
Romania joined the European Union on January the 1st 2007. Initially the West feared a massive wave of immigration from Romania and Bulgaria. It wasn’t really like that. Romanians have continued to go to work in Italy and Spain as they used to do before Romania’s entry in the EU. But in recent months, Italian and Spanish newspapers have abounded in rather unflattering articles about the Romanian community there, which is the biggest foreign community in Italy, numbering according to official figures half a million Romanians.
Workers from Poland who have move to Western Europe for work often get bad press, particularly in the British Tabloid media. For a change we head to Sweden where apparently Poles have less difficulty integrating. Last year, Poles were among the largest groups of immigrants in Malmö, Sweden's third largest and most ethnically diverse city, located at the very south of the county. The presence of polls in Malmö is not new, but Polish immigration has picked up significantly, since Sweden opened its doors to workers from the countries which joined the EU in 2004.
This New Year's Day will be a historic one for Bulgarians and Romanians whose countries will finally join the European Union and enlarge the bloc to 27 member states. Romania's road to membership has been a bumpy one, but last September, the European Commission finally ruled that the country had met all the criteria required to join the block. The problem is that Romania is not joining the club at an ideal time. Enlargement is no longer popular in Western Europe, and many Europeans fear the competition of cheaper Romanian workers. There are also doubts as to whether Romania is really fit to join the EU. Romania's EU integration Minister, Anca Daniela Boagiu discussed these issues with Network Europe.
Do Europeans need or want to get any closer together? As romania and Bulgaria prepare to join the EU in 2 months time we look at how they're being welcomed, or not. As the banlieues burn we look at inner city deprivation and at what's being done to stop the rot. Europe's getting bigger all the time and our leaders in Brussels are keen for it to keep expanding. And there are plenty of states keen to join. Turkey and several Balkan states are currently front of the queue to start negotiations. What some predict will happen then is a mass-migration as east europeans seek better wages as they go west. So what do europeans think of the expansion and the prospect of the continent experiencing a massive labour force on the move? Network Europe's reporters have been out on the streets of the capitals to find out.
The United Kingdom recently announced it would not be extending its "open door" policy to workers from Romania and Bulgaria, when they join the European Union in just under two months' time. That move comes in reaction to the phenomenal influx of workers following the last EU enlargement in 2004, with actual numbers far, far exceeding official estimates. And the biggest wave of immigration in British history is really making its mark on the country.
Since Spain opened its labour market to workers from the new EU member states Poles have been searching for jobs there. But Spaniards are beginning to fear the influx of migrant workers more and more, despite the fact unemployment between July and September hit its lowest point in 27 years. Poles used to take up just seasonal jobs, but now, many of them have decided to stay for good. Netwrok Europe has been meeting some migrant workers on their tea breaks.
Romania and its neighbour Bulgaria, will most probably join the European Union on January the 1st , 2007. Many Romanians support membership because it will allow them to work and gain experience abroad, preferably in the UK. But Radio Romania International explains that the UK may curtail its open doors policy.
Ireland has seen a large influx of Polish immigrants over the last couple of years, as one of three countries to open its doors immediately to workers from the new EU in 2004. In fact the Polish community is the fastest growing immigrant group in Ireland. As a result, not just Irish companies but the mainstream media are focusing ever more attention on young, dynamic Poles, who they regard as an attractive target group. Dailies like the Evening Herald and The Irish Times print several pages in Polish at least once a week, while some TV channels are now broadcasting in the language.
Spanish authorities are demanding help from the European Union, saying they’re overwhelmed with the 20,000 African migrants who’ve reached the shores of the Spanish-owned Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco this year. Those who’ve survived the perilous trip in crowded, open-top fishing boats are seeking employment in Europe in a bid to flee poverty in countries such as Senegal, Mali, Guinea and the Ivory Coast. But on another European island, a very different kind of African migration has been established for about ten years. For about seven months out of the year, Senegalese beach vendors comb the beaches of Sardinia, selling clothing and accessories to sunbathing tourists, and sending their earnings back home.
Now, neighbours is what the Finns and the Estonians has been for centuries - but it has only been since the fall of the iron curtain that the two countries have begun to re acquaint themselves. But for Estonia, as the borders come down and people, goods and services flow freely back and forth - the problem of brain drain has leapt onto the political agenda.
Citizens from new EU member states are able to enter the UK through the front door, as the country has a free labour market for EU citizens. According to the Home Office around 250 000 Poles are employed in the UK. Up to two million Poles may have settled in EU countries since Poland joined the Union in 2004. But emigration on this scale may in the long term have dramatic consequences for Poland, which has an ageing population. More from Radio Polonia.
In May 2004 as 10 new members joined the European Union Ireland, the United Kingdom and Sweden were the only countries to immediately open their labour markets to the new EU citizens. Since then, according to Ireland's official figures, around 10,000 Czechs have taken advantage of that opportunity to work there. Now - drawing on two years of experience - the Irish government has just launched an information campaign entitled "Know Before You Go" . Radio Prague reports from the Czech capital.
Growing numbers of Poles are opening business and taking up jobs in neighbouring countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Initially, most of these Polish job seekers went to the UK, Ireland and Sweden, which were the first to open up their labour markets. But increasingly, Poles are discovering that they can easily fill niches in labour markets closer to home. Radio Polonia reports.
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