A new European Commission report highlights the overall positive role that mobile workers from Bulgaria and Romania (EU-2) have played in receiving countries' economies.
These workers have contributed to the skills mix as well as filling vacancies in sectors and jobs with labour shortages such as in construction and the domestic and food services sectors. Estimates also show a positive impact of the free movement of Romanian and Bulgarian workers on the EU's long-term GDP with an increase by about 0.3% for EU-27 (0.4% for eu-15).
Studies show too that there has been no significant impact on unemployment or wages of local workers in receiving countries: in the EU-15 studies show wages are on average only 0.28% lower they would have been without mobility of the EU-2.
The report also highlights that there is no evidence of a disproportionate use of benefits by intra-EU mobile EU citizens and that the impact of recent flows on national public finances is negligible or positive.
The main destination for movers form Bulgaria and Romania was to Italy and Spain and data suggest that, at the end of 2010, twice as many Bulgarians and Romanians (2.9 million) were residing in the EU-25 compared to 2006.
At the same time, in relative terms, EU-2 nationals resident in an EU-25 Member State only represent 0.6% of the total EU-25 population. The highest share is in Cyprus (4.1%), Spain (2.2%) and Italy (1.8%).
In addition, the EU-2 employment rate (63%) is close to that of the EU-25 (65%). However, since the economic downturn, recently arrived EU-2 nationals have found it more difficult to find a job: around 16% were out of work in 2010, compared to 9% in 2007.
What is clear is that recent EU-2 movers have played a very minor role in the labour market crisis which is a direct consequence of the financial and economic crisis, as well as structural labour market problems.
The Commission report will serve as the basis on which the Council will carry out a review of how the transitional arrangements on free movement of Bulgarian and Romanian workers have worked in practice.