Unemployment in Spain is sticking stubbornly above 20 percent. And now the European Commission has decided to give Madrid a helping hand to protect its labour market. From now until the end of 2012, Romanians wanting to work in Spain will have to produce a permit.
It is an exception to EU rules that allow citizens free employment throughout the 27 member states.
Why Romanians, though? A Commission spokesperson says it is because of Spain’s specific situation:
“The continuous increase of Romanian residents in Spain and their high level of unemployment around 30 percent have had an impact on the capacity of Spain to absorb new flows of workers. It is important to note too that the restrictions will not affect Romanian nationals who are already employed on the Spanish labour market.’‘ said spokesperson Chantal Hughes.
There are more than 800 thousand Romanians in Spain, meaning they have overtaken Moroccans as the biggest immigrant community. A third are unemployed. Many are in the country illegally.The restriction will have to be approved over the next few weeks.