The Austrian government has decided to request from the European Commission to extend the transition period until 2020, during which Croatia's citizens do not have a fully open access to the Austrian labor market, announced by the Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, and the decision was supported by the President of Austrian Federal Economic Chamber Christoph Leitl.
As one of the reasons, it is stated that there is a large number of unemployed Croatian citizens living in Austria. As pointed, if the previous measure, which is in force until July 1 this year, is not extended, the early opening of the labor market for Croatian citizens would not result in an increase in the number of experts and highly skilled workers, rather than an increase in the number of unemployed.
Around 28.000 Croatian citizens worked in Austria throughout last year, and the number increases every year by two or three thousand. At the same time, there are 4.800 unemployed Croats living in that country. Also, the unemployment in Croatia is almost double of the one in Austria, reports Index.hr.
The government is currently issuing the exceptions for seasonal workers in tourism as well as for extending the list of occupations that are exempt from restrictions.
Everything started with the attack of the late Chancellor Christian Kern, who has identified the citizens of Croatia as a potential danger to the labor market in this Alpine country. He told that the economic program of the new government as the "program of impoverishment", and the biggest criticism was made at the expense of the government's plan to open the Austrian labor market to the EU members through the list of deficient interests.
The former head of the Austrian trade unions Verner Mun had even sharper criticism, who told the Vienna Courier that if the labor market opens, thousands of cheap workers from Eastern Europe will enter the country.
- The government actually decided to open a new Balkan route - Mun said.
The only one opposed to this decision is Austrian Minister of Economy Margarete Schramböck.
- There is a need for workers, and there are almost no workers coming from Eastern Europe to Austria - Schramböck said.
EU countries have the right to limit access to citizens of new member states for up to five years. After that, it is possible to limit it only if it is established that the full opening of the borders would have a negative impact on the domestic labor market. If Brussels approves an Austrian request, the restriction of access to the labor market for Croatian citizens will continue until 1 July 2020.
Austrian media wrote that up to 150,000 Croats who are fleeing from poverty and unemployment in their country could move to Austria in the short term. It seems that Croats will continue to seek jobs in Germany and Ireland.