ECONOMY

Parvanov hits at EU restrictions on Bulgarian labor

BRUSSELS (AP) – Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov yesterday criticized fellow European Union nations for imposing job restrictions on Bulgarians, arguing that a free flow of labor between the Balkan country and the EU’s older members would benefit the bloc. Only 11 of the 27 EU member states – most of them countries that joined the bloc in 2004 – have opened their job markets to Bulgarians. Others are concerned there would be an influx of cheap labor. «It is hard to understand why some member states did not open their labor market to Bulgarians the way they did to the countries that joined in 2004. Lifting up the last barriers will bring benefits to both Bulgaria and the EU,» Parvanov told the European Parliament on his first trip to Brussels since Bulgaria’s accession to the EU last month. More than half a million workers from eight EU nations that joined in 2004 migrated to the West, helping economic growth and filling vacancies in low-paid jobs in countries such as Britain and Ireland. But those countries now argue their labor market is saturated. Parvanov also told the parliamentarians his government would agree to a new safety review of two units of Bulgaria’s nuclear plant, and promised to complete judiciary reforms to wipe out organized crime and corruption.