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France to Open Labor Market to 8 Eastern European Countries


France says it will soon lift restrictions on workers from eight formerly communist countries that joined the European Union in 2004.

President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the upcoming move Wednesday at a news conference in Warsaw with Polish President Lech Kaczynski. Poland is one of the countries set to benefit from the French move.

After the European alliance was enlarged, citizens from the East European members - in addition to Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia and Slovakia - did not have unrestricted access to jobs in France and some other Western nations.

The French move, set for July 1, will fall on the day France assumes the rotating EU presidency for a six-month period.

The two presidents also signed a declaration of strategic partnership, aimed at boosting bilateral cooperation in energy, agricultural and defense sectors.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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