Pioneers of European Integration

Pioneers of European Integration

Citizenship and Mobility in the EU

Edited by Ettore Recchi and Adrian Favell

The free movement of EU citizens is the most visible sociological consequence of the remarkable process of European integration that has transformed the continent since the Second World War. Pioneers of European Integration offers the first systematic analysis of the small but symbolically potent number of Europeans who have chosen to live and work as foreigners in another member state of the EU. Based on an original survey of 5000 people moving to and from the EU’s five largest countries, the book documents the demographic profile, migration choices, cultural adaptation, social mobility, political participation and media use of these pioneers of a transnational Europe, as well as opening a window to the new waves of intra-EU East–West migrations.

Chapter 6: More Mobile, More European? Free Movement and EU Identity

Nina Rother and Tina M. Nebe

Subjects: development studies, migration, geography, human geography, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, migration, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, migration, sociology and sociological theory, urban and regional studies, migration


Nina Rother and Tina M. Nebe FREE MOVEMENT AND EUROPEAN IDENTITY: WHICH RELATIONSHIP? European citizens who live in an EU country other than their native one come in closer contact with many of the EU’s policies than those who stay at home. These EU movers, as we have called them, can benefit from their French health insurance in Germany, shop with the Euro in a wide range of countries and pay reduced home-student tuition fees at British universities. Movers can experience European integration first-hand, be it at the dinner table with friends in the country of residence, at the workplace, or in everyday interaction in a supermarket or at a bus stop. Experiences related to European Union policies or contact and exchange with other EU citizens – if experienced as positive – may affect pro-European attitudes and identities.1 Movers, in short, might differ from stayers regarding their level of Europeanness. But is this necessarily true? Couldn’t positive experiences and contacts in Italy simply make a German Italophile rather than pro-European? Much has been written about the absence of Europe in the lives of ordinary EU citizens (Shore and Black 1994; Meinhof 2004). Maybe moving from Germany to Italy simply makes movers feel at home in two societies, without them developing a new tier of identification with a supranational entity. Maybe movers shop with the Euro and use the health insurance of their country of origin while resident elsewhere, yet stay unattached to the European Union that claims to have made these things...

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