Expanding EU is a land of plenty of chances

Paris, November 26:

Polish doctor Agata Slawin works near Wroclaw but spends many weekends on call in Northern Ireland, flying low-cost across the EU to meet a chronic shor-tage and earning as much as she would in three wee-ks at home. Her airborne career highlights the mosaic of skilled, mobile workers who have seized opportunities surfacing throughout the European Union as it prepares to expand to 27 members.

The movement is no longer just east-west, you-ng Britons also head to Hungary or the Czech Republic and Germans go to Bulgaria to market talents that are in demand in pla-ces previously dismissed as pools of cheap labour. Britain and Ireland are sh-ort of nurses, but so are Estonia and Romania where unemployment is as low as five per cent.

“Skill sharing between European doctors is very beneficial for patients and medecine,” even though it means 13- to 15-hour trips and, this year, spending Christmas 1,600-km from her family.

Meanwhile, and even though the jobless rate may top 15 per cent in Poland, shipyards, building sites and hospitals there scramble to find skilled labour in Germany as well as in Belarus or Ukraine. The EU population will surpass 485 million on January 1, and while members may still restrict immigration, legal and illegal migrants have long crossed the borders of its future 27 states.

Polish plumbers were smeared in a 2005 campaign to kill the proposed EU constitution.