(Dec. 16, 2008) On December 5, 2008, the Belgian Council of Ministers approved a draft royal regulation that keeps barriers in place against the hiring of Bulgarian and Romanian workers for three more years, from January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2011, because of the risk of unemployment due to the economic crisis. The government, however, will be able to end this measure before 2011 if it wishes to do so.
Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union on January 1, 2007. During a transition period usually imposed on new Member States, workers do not benefit from the right to free movement. They may, however, obtain a work permit for positions difficult to fill locally. This is the case with the Bulgarian and Romanian workers. (Communiqué de presse du Conseil des ministres du 5 décembre 2008, Service communication du Conseil des Ministres (Dec. 5, 2008), available at http://presscenter.org/archive/20081205/11d284ba9010b65970f1de5be10755c7/?