Macron turns against the idea of total freedom of movement in the EU

by Ray Clancy on August 31, 2017

While there has been much attention on how Brexit is going to affect people from the European Union moving to work in the UK, there are signs that France is also ready to crack down on workers.

Recently elected French President Emmanuel Macron has indicated that he might support an EU deal to clamp down on cheap workers moving from Eastern Europe by the end of 2017.


He has talked often about the impact of migrant workers on France and now on a visit to Romania he said he believes that there will be some kind of EU wide deal.

While he is regarded as a staunch supporter of the EU, it seems that Macron is not so keen on the free movement of all workers between member countries. Unlike other EU leaders, he has issued warnings about the economic and political impact of low paid eastern European taking jobs in larger, more developed nations.

He discussed the issue with the Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and warned that one of the issues is companies, particularly in the construction trade, paying workers from countries such as Romania and Poland paying so called ‘posted’ workers less than local workers.

Macron wants companies to pay everyone the same, regardless of where they come from and that a deal is needed to protect French workers and a 12 month limit put on posted workers.

In 2016 the European Commission proposed new rules to regulate pay for posted and local workers but they were opposed by member states in central and Eastern Europe. Official figures indicate that around 50,000 Romania workers were posted to EU member states last year.

Macron has also indicated that he thinks that the 26 country European free passport zone known as the Schengen zone which allows citizens to travel without border controls needs to be beefed up.

Currently Romania, for example, does not belong to the Schengen Zone, neither does Bulgaria. Macron believes that border controls need to be improved before others join.

There are currently 26 countries in the Schengen area of which 22 are EU members and four are the non-EU member states of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. The UK and the Republic of Ireland are not part of the zone. Romania, which has been an EU member for 10 years now wants to join.

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