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Reader feedback: Freedom to work in the EU is just a law away

Re: Slovakia considers working restrictions against EU states, Flash news briefs, Feb 2 - 8, Vol 10, No 4

Several readers and I were confused by this article, which discusses a reaction of the Slovak Republic to work permit laws in the current 15 EU countries. Unfortunately, the article implies that the laws to which Slovakia is responding are new laws, not the present and old laws.

The proposed and relevant law is the Freedom of Movement Law (FML), which will homogenise the present discord of national laws regarding residency and work. As of today the law is different in each EU country.

For instance, an Italian citizen in Sweden is subject to different work and residency restrictions than a Finnish citizen. If the FML is not adopted, Slovak citizens will be at a distinct disadvantage in many EU countries.

Your article implies that Slovakia is reacting because the present and old laws will be retained at the expense of the FML. Notwithstanding The Slovak Spectator's article, my own research leads me to conclude that the Labour Ministry was suggesting what Slovakia would do if the FML were not adopted before accession.

The reaction page for this article reveals the confusion of other readers. Generally, the messages show concern for discrimination against Slovaks and the reasonableness of the ministry's reaction to that prejudice, rather than discussing what is perhaps a political move to promote the adoption of the FML in the European Parliament.

Although I follow the legislative history of the FML closely, I was so confused by your article that I was afraid I had missed something in the news, for instance that the FML had somehow died in the legislative process.

It seems that many of your readers, and perhaps many people in general, are confused about how EU accession will affect Slovakia's borders and customs and the right of Slovak citizens to live and work in other EU member states.

Perhaps The Slovak Spectator should consider running a feature on how new EU laws will affect Slovak citizens.

Michael Bilavsky,
New York, USA

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