[en] For decades, immigration has been at the core of the political and social debate in Europe. In the post-crisis environment, recent events have inflamed the migration agenda further, as freedom of movement is an essential decision-making point in the planned referendum on European Union (EU) membership in the United Kingdom, and the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean is testing the limits of the EU and of its member states to manage migration in a humane and fair way. Large- scale immigration has long challenged the Westphalian tradition of nation-state sovereignty in Europe (Joppke, 1998). However, these tensions have only increased over the last decade, following conflicts in Europe’s neighbourhood, the fall of the ‘Iron Curtain’ and the eastern enlargement of the EU, or the 2008 global economic and financial crisis.
If until recently the most controversial aspect of immigration has been migrants and asylum-seekers from outside the EU and an invisibility of European migration and European migrants, in the last few years we observe that the very principle of migration from the other member states is challenged in a systematic manner for the first time since its proclamation in the Treaty of Rome (establishing the European Economic Community in 1958). The rebellion against the status quo on freedom of movement of people in the EU is led by Western European states. They are the almost exclusive receivers of EU migration, either from the other Western European states, or from the new member states in Central and Western Europe.
This essay traces the transformation of EU migration over the last decade, following the most recent enlargements and the south–north migration which has re-emerged since the financial crisis, and examines the causes of an unprecedented contestation of free movement rights.
Sociology & social sciences Political science, public administration & international relations
Author, co-author :
Lafleur, Jean-Michel ; Université de Liège > Faculté des sciences sociales > Centre d'études de l'ethnicité et des migrations (CEDEM)
Intra-European Mobility: Patterns of Immigration Flows and Policies
Alternative titles :
[fr] Mobilité intra-européenne: flux et politiques