Hungary will decide whether to allow free access for Romanian workers on its labour market only after Romania and Bulgaria join the European Union on January 1, 2007, Hungarian Foreign minister Kinga Goncz has announced.

“A decision was not yet taken in this regard. We will have to consider various aspects, including the difficult terms of the labour market in Eastern hungary and the interest of ethnic Hungarians in Romania”, Goncz said, quoted by Hungarian press agency MTI.

He said possible temporary or partial restrictions were considered.

Some 2 million ethnic Hungarians live in Romania, many interested in finding work abroad, and Hungary is the only EU member state with a common border with the country. The unemployment rate in Hungary rose to 7.4% in June-August this year, 0.1 percentage points up from the May-July, while Romania kept a rae of 5.1% in August, the lowest in the past 14 years.