Bruton considers embargo on Croatians looking to work here
ENTERPRISE Minister Richard Bruton is to decide if Croatians can come here to seek work when the country becomes a full member of the EU.
Ireland has already imposed labour-market restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens following their accession to the EU.
The sudden decision to open the labour market to 10 new EU member states in 2004 was controversial because there was very little debate about its impact, and unions complained they hadn't been warned.
But, in an interview with the Irish Independent, the new Croatian Ambassador to Ireland Jasna Ognjanovac played down the prospect of large numbers of Croatian workers arriving here if the labour market was opened up.
"I personally don't see that there will be any big danger in an influx of workers," she said.
The Department of Enterprise has said it will have to review labour market restrictions before the end of this year.
Ms Ognjanovac said the Croatian economy was "on a good path".
"Croatia is doing very well. We had 10 million tourists last year, we have very good agriculture," she said.
And she pointed out that there were just 1,000 Croatians living in Ireland -- with most more likely to move to countries such as Germany and Austria, where there is a strong Croatian diaspora.
Every EU member has the right to restrict access to its labour market to workers from new EU member states for up to seven years.
The EU has set mid-2013 as the deadline for Croatia to become a full member -- although it may be able to join next year if all 27 member states sign the accession treaty quickly.