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Slovaks and Czechs support open labour market for new EU states

SLOVAKIA and the Czech Republic have not decided whether they will open their labour markets to Bulgarians and Romanians after they join the EU, but Slovak and Czech Prime Ministers Robert Fico and Mirek Topolánek are lending preliminary support to such a move.

"It wouldn't be right and fair if we criticised the EU15 members for introducing transition periods on us on one hand, and on the other apply the same policy against countries that are now becoming EU members," Fico told reporters after meeting Topolánek in Bratislava on September 14.

The Slovak cabinet, Fico said, plans to announce its decision on the issue as soon as Bulgaria and Romania join the EU, scheduled for January 1, 2007, the TASR news agency wrote.

Topolánek shares a similar opinion on the matter. "My attitude to this will be very liberal," he said.

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