Media Briefs

Free Movement of Labor
within the EU-27?

The migration debate in the United States has come to dominate much of the political discussion. Are migrant or immigrant workers good or bad for the U.S. economy? Should labor migration be encouraged or thwarted? And what should the U.S. government do about those immigrant (or migrant) workers already in the United States? The temptation is to view this debate as uniquely American. Nevertheless, a variant of it exists in Europe as well. The free movement of labor is a basic commitment in the process of European integration and is judged to be an essential element of European Union (EU) citizenship.

Until the EU enlargements of 2004 and 2007, member states generally regarded the exchange of populations as beneficial for their societies. However, now that the Union is larger and knows that substantial economic differences between the various member states exist, the issues of migration and immigration have taken on new meaning. This brief assesses the policies adopted towards labor migration in the enlarged EU, the expectation these policies were founded on and the actual results that labor migration has brought the EU as a whole.

  • Member States' Reactions and Restrictions
  • Expectations
  • Results
  • Reservations
  • Future

Download this brief (PDF)


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