On January 1st 2007 Romania and Bulgaria became part of the European Union by virtue of the Treaty signed on April 25th 2005. Although members of the EU, they were still subject to restrictions up to two years after their inclusion into the Union. The free movement of workers assumes that all EU member state nationals have to right to work for self-employment in other EU member states under the same conditions as nationals of that State.
Under the conditions of certain clauses of the Act of Accession it states that citizens of countries who have recently joined the EU have to wait a certain period of time before they are permitted the same rights as other EU member state citizens.
Accordingly, in 2009 Spain incorporated Romania and Bulgaria into their labour market, two years after their accession. However, due to the dire economic situation in Spain, with the unemployment rate higher than ever, the European Commission agreed to enforce this free movement of workers restriction again in our country. It is important to note that this enforcement did not affect those Romanians and Bulgarians who were already working in our country at that time.
On December 31 2013 the restriction was lifted and all barriers to free movement of workers were broken. Despite the difficult times that our country has had to endure economically, we have seen an increase in foreigners who have come to Spain to seek employment.
It should be noted that there are over 900,000 Romanians in Spain, which counts for 17% of the total registered foreign population, and the numbers keep growing.
Translated by: Katherine Pascal