The Netherlands to keep borders closed to Croatian workers

The Netherlands will keep its borders closed to workers from Croatia for at least two years, even though the country becomes a member of the European Union on July 1.

Ministers agreed at Friday’s cabinet meeting to impose the ban, which can be extended to up to seven years, in line with EU rules. This means Croatian nationals who want to work in the Netherlands must have a permit to do so.

The Netherlands took similar steps to stop people from Bulgaria and Romania moving to the Netherlands when the eastern European countries  became official members. That border stop expires on January 1 2014.

Ministers decided to restrict the entry of Croats because of the poor state of the Dutch employment market. ‘The Netherlands has found it difficult to absorb the stream of people from other new member states, which was greater than expected,’ according to a government statement.

Parliament had already voted to restrict access.

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