Dynamics and Perspectives
Edited by Peter Ester, Ruud Muffels, Joop Schippers and Ton Wilthagen
Chapter 3: How Willing are Europeans to Migrate? A Comparison of Migration Intentions in Western and Eastern Europe
Didier Fouarge and Peter Ester 3.1 INTRODUCTION1 The issue of geographic and labour market mobility has taken a prominent position on the EU policy agenda with the accession of new Member States to the European Union. The year 2006 was officially chosen as the ‘European Year of Workers’ Mobility’ by the European Commission. This reflects the policy saliency of the mobility issue in Europe. At present, however, the stock of nationals from the new Member States living in an EU15 Member State is rather limited. In EU15, 7.6 per cent of the working age population is non-national: the large majority is from outside the EU (5.1 per cent), followed by nationals from other EU15 countries (2.1 per cent). Only 0.4 per cent is from one of the new Member States, relatively larger shares are observed in Ireland (2 per cent), Austria (1.4 per cent) and Germany (0.7 per cent).2 The fear, however, is that the free movement of workers in Europe could lead to a large and uncontrolled migration flow from East to West, that is from the new Member States to the old Member States. Although the true dimension of migration is difficult to assess empirically, a number of studies attempted at doing so. An econometric study by Boeri and Brücker (2001) estimates that the stock of immigrants from the new Member States in the old Member countries might increase from less than 1 million in 1998 to some 3 to 4.5 million persons in 2030 (see...
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