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Free movement: new Commission report on mobility of Croatian workers

29/05/2015
Free movement: new Commission report on mobility of Croatian workers © xtock / Shutterstock.com

Today the European Commission has published a new report on transitional arrangements on free movement for Croatian workers, concluding that future potential flows of Croatian workers to other EU Member States are likely to be small and unlikely to lead to labour market disturbances.

Mobile citizens from Croatia are mainly of working-age and relatively well educated; they tend to be younger and more likely to be employed compared to nationals of the host countries.

Since Croatia joined the EU in July 2013, Croatian workers' mobility has been small in relation to the population and labour force of 13 Member States that currently apply transitional restrictions.

After the accession, Germany and Austria have remained the main destinations of mobile workers from Croatia, despite the fact that they apply restrictions. Germany hosts 68% of total mobile Croatians and Austria 17%.

In the 14 Member States which have opened their labour markets, the increase of Croatian workers has been very low in absolute terms. Croatian workers' mobility is likely to continue at a low level in the future, without leading to labour market disturbances even in the main destination countries and, as estimates show, even if the restrictions are lifted.

The outflow of young and highly educated Croatian workers, although higher since the accession, remains so far moderate. There is no evidence of this having caused skills shortages in the Croatian economy. On the contrary, the report points to the positive impact of labour mobility for Croatia, both in terms of a potential reduction of unemployment and of benefiting from remittances sent from Croatian workers abroad.

The report recalls that after previous enlargements mobile EU workers have brought needed skills to the host labour markets and help fill local labour shortages. Studies have also shown that they tend to have a neutral or positive fiscal impact on the host economies.