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Hungarian president asks France to drop work ban

Hungarian President László Sólyom today urged France and other European Union countries to open their labor markets to workers from east European countries, website Euractiv said, citing an interview.

France yesterday said it will gradually open its labor market to east Europeans, stopping short of lifting all restrictions as in neighboring U.K. and Spain. Until May 1, EU members have to decide whether to extend existing restrictions. Finland, Portugal, Ireland and Sweden have also opened their labor markets, while Germany and Austria have extended restrictions for another three years. Sólyom asked French President Jacques Chirac during a visit last week to end all restrictions and said that the EU's new members won't accept being treated as second-class citizens, according to Euractiv.