Extracts from the EC Midday press briefing by Olivier Bailly, Spokesperson of the EC, on the freedom of movement / Romas issue
Type: Midday briefing - summary
Brussels - EC/Berlaymont
On 25 September 2013, Olivier Bailly, Head of Unit 1 "Growth and Jobs" and Coordinating Spokesperson, answered to the questions of journalists regarding the freedom of movement within the EU, the free movement of services, the freedom to live in another EU Member States and the situation of the Roms.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Olivier Bailly, Head of Unit 1 "Growth and Jobs" and Coordinating Spokesperson, at the press briefing
||Soundbite by Olivier Bailly (in FRENCH) saying that there is confusion concerning the terms of the debate and in the rules and principles that apply within the EU. Firstly: Freedom of movement. All EU citizens from the 28 Member States have freedom of movement in all EU Member States. Freedom of movement is viewed as a fundamental freedom and has been in the Treaty since 1958. This is a right that is upheld by European citizens, any European barometer shows as a popular policy the fact that people can move around freely. Since the 80's the Member States developed Schengen; Schengen is also in European Treaties so this is an area that has its own rules with external border controls and removal of internal border controls. For those of you who do not know, Romania and Bulgaria are not members of the Schengen zone because there is not unanimous agreement between the Member States and this is their responsibility to give agreement to those 2 countries accession. The Commission has given its views clearly, it thinks these 2 countries are technically ready to enter Schengen but it is for the Member States to decide on accession. Now, that Romania and Bulgaria are not in Schengen does not in any way prevent Romanians and Bulgarians from freely moving around the rest of the EU and to draw on their fundamental freedom; the only restriction they are subjected to is border controls at the Schengen borders which is the same things that happens to UK citizens when they try to come to Brussels.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by Olivier Bailly (in FRENCH) on freedom to work in the EU. Saying that since 1958, within the context of internal market, people have the right to work in another country. There have been new Members coming in 2004 and 2007 and in the accession treaty, regarding working there are transitional arrangements, there is still some transitional arrangements for Romania and Bulgaria who came in 2007. these remaining transitional measures concerns Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Malta and UK and concerning Spain, these restrictions apply only for Romanian citizens. These countries though have begun to open up the market to some professions; they felt their labour markets needed skilled workers in specific trades from certain countries. France, for example, has opened up its labour market to 298 specific occupations for workers coming from Romania and Bulgaria. But these restrictions will go from the 1st of January 2014, this is what it says in the accession Treaties. So Bulgaria and Romania won't come into Schengen in 2014 but the restrictions on workers from Romania and Bulgaria will disappear on the 1st of January 2014 vis-à-vis all EU Member States including the 8 countries who had some restriction at the moment.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by Olivier Bailly (in FRENCH) saying that a third confusion people get tangled up with is the right of residence in another Member State; this is a right which also applied to Bulgarian and Romanian citizens who have the right to reside freely in another Member State but after 3 months they have to show that they have the financial means to continue to reside in that country without being a burden on that country's social support. Now what about the Roma? The Commission cannot assess people's will to integrate or not but it is a right nevertheless that citizens enjoy and must be enforced. As concerns penalties, rights and liberties are enshrined in the Treaties which have been completed by directives, if those rules are not abided by, of course the Commission will use the dedicated means to move things forward. To what concerns penalties or the enhancement of social integration provided by in last-June recommendation by the EC to the Council or in the individual recommendations to certain countries issued in May of last year stating that they should make their best to ease the integration of Roma people; adding that the rules of the Treaty are clear, as the power of the Commission is limited in the field of social integration, they have to work in cooperation with Member States, most of the EC instruments being financial as Commissioner Reding stated in more details earlier this morning.