Originally uploaded by malias.
After the EU was expanded in 2004 Ireland the UK and Sweden were the only EU countries to allow unrestricted access to the labour market for citizens of the new entrants (Poland, The Baltic states, Hungary etc).
Meanwhile France and a number of other countries maintained its work permit system largely because of the (mainly groundless) fear that a large influx of immigrants would push up unemployment.
A further factor in the restricting of access to the job market was undoubtebly to maintain the priveleged position of certain trades who feared that competition from abroad would bring down the prices they could charge.
Well I have to tell you that the sooner the archetypal Polish plumber moves west the better.
In an earlier entry I mentioned that I had plumbing problems in my Paris apartment. I needed an estimate for some laying of some new pipes. So I called a few plumbers. Some of the plumbers never returned my calls finally I got a French plumber to come round. He was late (several days late in fact) , rude, sent the estimate to the wrong address and got my name completely wrong. Worst of all he wanted 1012 Euros for what he said was a day or two days' work.
1012 Euros is a lot of money, I didn't know what to do. Finally an English friend recommended a Romanian plumber he had used. I called him, he came on time, he did the work in 4 hours and charged me 170 Euros including parts. Pretty reasonable I thought.
Call me old fashioned but a bit of competition can be a good thing.