Trends, Patterns and Control
Edited by Heinz Fassmann, Max Haller and David Lane
Chapter 6: Free-moving West Europeans: An Empirically Based Portrait
6. Free-moving west Europeans: an empirically based portrait Michael Braun and Ettore Recchi INTRODUCTION 6.1 As the internal borders of the European Union are almost entirely removed, migration patterns within the continent take a different shape. Complementing free movement policies, cross-country transportations have expanded their scope and speed while lowering their prices. Eurostar trains, Ryanair planes, highways and highly improved roads are making it easy, as never before, to move across borders in Europe. Distances and costs are compressed, allowing Europeans to conceive of international mobility on a continental scale more flexibly and with diverse purposes. Yet, considerable increases in living standards and welfare entitlements in the traditional sending countries of southern Europe have at the same time reduced incentives for migration. The traditional migrant strategy of labour-led resettlement (which knew several variants in time and scope) is being supplemented, if not entirely replaced, by multifaceted life-plans and strategies of mobility. Perhaps the lifting of the Iron Curtain and the inclusion of eastern European countries into the EU have recently led to a revival of the traditional guest-worker migration, given the extreme wage differences between some new member states and western Europe. But it is also plausible that such movements will weaken progressively due to economic convergence between east and west and the low fertility of the sending countries. 6.2 STATISTICAL OVERVIEW While there is a widespread awareness that this is the overall picture of the changing migration landscape within the EU borders, we know surprisingly little about the objective...
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