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Tuesday, June 28

Europeans Favour Spain for Expat Jobs

Updated on: 19.02.2007, 13:57

Published on: 19.02.2007, 13:43

Author: Todor Roussanov

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Spain is the most favoured destination for West Europeans considering to move from their own country and seek jobs elsewhere in the EU.

According to a Financial Times /Harris poll on attitudes among over 6,500 adults in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US towards immigration - published on Monday (19 February) - 17 percent of respondents said they would like to work in Spain.

The Italians and French were the most upbeat about the Iberian country but while Italians featured as the most keen in general to work in another EU country (over 50%), only 23 percent of French people would consider leaving their homeland to live and work elsewhere.

The Spanish respondents also proved confident about their own country and particularly about the positive impact of immigration, with 42 percent of them saying they believed it was good for the economy, compared with 19 percent in Britain and France.

The Brits are the most hostile against job-seekers from other European quarters with 66 percent complaining there were "too many foreigners" in the country while the UK itself is the second favourite destination of West Europeans for working abroad.

Both Britain and Spain have featured as countries promoting the free movement of labour within Europe.

The UK was among the three countries that opened their labour markets right from the 2004 EU enlargement - along with Ireland and Sweden - while other member states introduced a temporary ban which could in theory last for seven years.

Spain joined the liberal camp last year along with Portugal, Finland, Italy and Greece however, while other countries have also relaxed their restrictions since 2004.

Still, with the UK seeing a significantly higher influx of newcomers from central and Eastern Europe than predicted by the government - 427,000 instead of 15,000 - and Spain fearing the impact of 2006 enlargement, both countries have closed their door to potential immigrants from Bulgaria and Romania.

Meanwhile, Polish president Lech Kaczynski on a weekend visit to Ireland thanked Dublin for welcoming the hundreds of thousands of Poles who have settled in Ireland, but voiced concern over looming labour shortages in eastern Europe's largest economy.

"You should ask yourselves, should I stay here or go back?" the president said, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza writes. "Conditions in Poland are objectively improving."

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