May 1 marked the end of a transitional period for the European Union, after which all existing members were required to fully open their labor markets to eight countries that joined the union on May 1, 2004. In an email interview, Herbert Brücker, an expert in European integration at the Institute for Employment Research in Germany, discussed the opening of the EU labor market.
WPR: What was the logic behind the labor market restrictions that were recently lifted?
Herbert Brücker: According to the "2+3+2" formula, the European Union agreed to suspend free labor mobility for up to seven years for the new members. All EU members, except Austria and Germany, had already opened their labor markets prior to May 1.