On 1 May 2004, eight Central and Eastern European states with a combined total population of approximately 75 million people joined the European Union (EU).
Membership in the EU guarantees the citizens of these countries certain freedoms within the territories of other member states, including the right to move and reside freely, the right to establish and provide services and the right to take up employment. Immediately prior to the accession of the new states (referred to here as the EU8
In response to fears in some member states that a 'flood' of cheap labour from the EU8 would lead to higher unemployment rates and falling wages, the EU added 'transitional arrangements' to the accession treaty signed by the new member states. These arrangements allow individual member states to restrict the free movement of workers
Michael Heinen and Anna Pegels are doctoral students in international economic relations at the Ruhr-University of Bochum.
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