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20th Anniversary EU enlargement, the baltic perspective - webnews

Freedom of movement for workers and the EURES network- The Baltic States’ perspective on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the EU enlargement in 2004

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The European Labour Authority (ELA) organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Welfare of Latvia and the State Employment Agency a multilateral conference  on 23, May 2024 in Riga that reflected upon and marked the 20th anniversary of the EU enlargement of 2004, with an emphasis on the Baltic States: Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

The event was opened by ELA’s Executive director, Cosmin Boiangiu, and the Latvian Minister for Welfare, Uldis Augulis. It brought  together representatives of the national institutions of the Baltic States, labour mobility experts, social partners and ELA to discuss topics such as:  

  • How the freedom of movement for workers and the access to the European Single Market affect the three Baltic States, and what are the advantages and difficulties they face since they became EU members.
  • Labour market situation in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
  • The role of the European Labour Authority to contribute to fair labour mobility within the EU.
  • Challenges in applying the EU rules on posting of workers and national laws, access to information, a demand for consistent strategy and better collaboration among the authorities in charge.  
  • How the EURES network, information and communication activities affect the level of awareness of the EU's and Member States’ contribution to enhancing growth and jobs in the Baltic States and the EU.

The event had both practical and reflective elements. The event also offered networking opportunities between stakeholders involved in EU labour mobility and discussion on how to improve ELA’s outreach in the Member States. 

Background information

On 1 May 2004 10 countries joined the European Union: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. This was the biggest enlargement in the history of the Union bringing into the EU a group of countries with divergent legacies, each with its own unique contribution and history. This year marks the 20th anniversary of this historic event, and various activities are taking place to commemorate it.