Irregular Migration

Irregular Migration

The Dilemmas of Transnational Mobility

Bill Jordan and Franck Düvell

Irregular Migration is an extremely timely and topical book, analysing the fundamental tensions at the core of present attempts to manage the movement of population in today’s world. Recent events around the globe have prompted a reappraisal of the emerging consensus on migration control.

Chapter 2: Mobility and Migration in the European Union

Bill Jordan and Franck Düvell

Subjects: development studies, migration, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


This chapter investigates the relationship between mobility and membership in the European Union. The primary rationale of the EU has been to create a single market among member states, with free movement of capital, labour and goods. This has involved redefining migration between countries as mobility within a single market, creating rights of European citizenship, and agreeing common policies on immigration from outside the Union (Geddes, 2000). In order to understand how current measures to control irregular migration, but allow recruitment of ‘useful’ workers, have emerged, we need to analyse the relationship between these elements in the evolution of EU institutions. As the original European Economic Community has grown to include 15 states, it has embraced countries with increasingly diverse systems of membership, and traditions of migration. The core states had relatively homogeneous versions of citizenship, and drew in migrant workers mainly from the Mediterranean region – Spain and North Africa especially in the case of France, Yugoslavia and Turkey in that of Germany. With the accession of the UK came a different form of welfare state (more concerned with individual economic freedom), and a wider reach for its recruitment of immigrant workers, from the New Commonwealth countries. Finally, the expansion included both Scandinavian countries with more homogeneous populations and stronger social citizenship rights (Finland, Sweden), and Southern European states with more fragmented welfare systems, and long histories of supplying migrant labour for the more prosperous economies of Northern Europe (Spain, Portugal, Greece). On the face of it, the creation...

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