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Spaniards – not so interested in the free movement of researchers?

At a first glance, so it would seem. The European Court of Justice recently ruled that Spain, the EU member state now holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, violates the EU directive on the admission of non-EU nationals for the purpose of scientific research (2005/71/EC). The directive was developed to enable non-EU researchers to by-pass the lengthy visa application process for non-EU citizens, and obtain a fast-tracked visa (‘scientific visa’) to work in accredited EU research centres. Apart form Spain, the UK is the only remaining member state that has not incorporated the directive into national law so far. However, the UK previously chose to opt out the EU directives in the areas of justice, freedom and security.

The European Commission launched its action in front of the European Court of Justice in November 2008, after Spain had missed two deadlines to implement the directive. Nevertheless, Spain does not seem to be against the implementation of the EU directive per se and explained that it has every intention to do so, the delay being generated by a restructuring of the Spanish ministerial departments. Various ministries have to be involved in the final transposition of the directive into law.

European Court of Justice