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Sarkozy visits Poland to seal partnership

Latest update : 2008-05-28

French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Poland on Wednesday to establish a 'strategic partnership' in areas that include research, defense and nuclear power. His visit includes an address to the country's parliament.

France will fully open its labour market on July 1 to workers from Poland and seven other ex-communist states which joined the European Union in May 2004, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday in Warsaw.

"I confirm that all the barriers will be lifted from July 1, so one year in advance," Sarkozy told reporters at a joint press conference with his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczynski.

"I believe in Europe, I'm trying to show that here in Poland," Sarkozy said.

France's move to open wide its doors to eastern workers will come on the first day of its six-month presidency of the European Union and covers workers from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

"It's a very important decision," Kacyznski said. "We want to be a fully-fledged member of the EU.

"There are a few countries that have still not opened their labour markets," he said referring to Germany, Austria, Belgium and Denmark.

Having opted for a five year transition period, France originally planned to open its labour market to the eight 2004 EU newcomers in May 2009, unlike Britain, Ireland and Sweden which opted for complete access upon expansion in  May 2004.

Workers from 2007 EU newcomers Bulgaria and Romania will still remain under a transition period regime limiting their access to the French job market.

Earlier Sarkozy and Kaczynski signed a strategic partnership accord between aimed at reinforcing cooperation in the agricultural, energy and defence sectors between France and Poland.

Sarkozy was due to meet with liberal Prime Minister Donald Tusk and address a joint session of the upper and lower houses of the Polish parliament later Wednesday, his first one-day working visit to Poland.

Date created : 2008-05-28