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EU Migration and the Economic Crisis: Concepts and Issues

  • Jean-Michel Lafleur
  • Mikolaj Stanek
Open Access
Chapter
Part of the IMISCOE Research Series book series (IMIS)

Abstract

In this introductory chapter, we discuss the concept of “crisis migration” and its relevance to understanding the transformation of migratory flows within Europe as well as the transformation of migration and integration policies in the European Union. This introduction also presents the main issues discussed in this book and briefly introduces each of the chapters that compose this volume. In this chapter, we also underscore the different economic and political context in which this new Southern European migration is occurring in comparison with previous waves from the same area. In particular, we point out that successive enlargements of the EU and their associated migration waves have eroded the support of political elites for the principle of free movement within Northern EU Member States. This changing socio-political context has triggered different reactions among political elites towards these new flows in both sending and receiving countries.

Keywords

Economic crisis Migration policies Integration Southern Europe EU 

1.1 Introduction: South-North EU Migration in (Post-)Crisis Europe

The global financial and economic crisis has been hitting the European Union severely since 2008. Although the economic crisis began in advanced economies and then spread all over the globe, its impact and implications are far from being equally distributed geographically. This is particularly visible within the European Union. While some countries, mainly in the North, have weathered the crisis relatively well and have managed to recover from the initial financial downturn, others, especially in the South, have been suffering from long-term financial instability, high unemployment rates and worsening living conditions among wide segments of the population. In this deteriorating socio-economic environment, EU citizens have developed a wide variety of strategies to respond to the crisis, such as undertaking training in order to adapt to the changing needs of the job market, reducing household expenditure, or taking to the streets to oppose the management of the crisis by their governments (Promberger et al. 2014).

Traditionally, geographic mobility has been considered by social scientists as a key strategy employed by individuals and households in order to cope with economic hardship. Today, there is sufficient evidence showing that many European citizens have responded to the deterioration of their living conditions by moving to other countries or continents. Nonetheless, despite the media interest in this new European migratory phenomenon, in-depth and systematic analysis is still needed.

This edited volume focuses on migration as a specific strategy developed by EU citizens to adjust to an adverse socio-economic environment. In particular, we propose to look at the mobility of EU citizens proceeding from the Southern European Member States that have been most affected by the crisis (Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain) and moving to Northern European Member States, where the job market has remained attractive in spite of the crisis (Belgium, France, Germany, United Kingdom). In other words, this book seeks an answer to the following question: have old South-North migration routes within Europe reopened?

More precisely, our objective for this volume is twofold. First, we intend to identify the scale and nature of this new Southern European wave of emigration and the socio-economic integration of these migrants within Northern European destination countries. This will be achieved through a quantitative analysis of the most recent data on the flows and profiles of this new labour force using databases from both sending and receiving countries (labour force surveys, census records, migration office statistics on national and EU levels, Eurobarometer surveys, etc.). Such analysis will, overall, point to the differences and similarities between this current wave of Southern European migration and previous ones. However, as the different chapters in this volume show, quantitative data often presents limitations that invite us to use such information with great care. For instance, the measurement of the migration flows of EU citizens can be undermined by the voluntary non-registration of EU migrants with the authorities in both the home and the host country. EU migrants do not have a strong incentive to register as permanent residents in the host country. In fact, they may have important reasons not to deregister as residents in their home country; for example, to avoid losing entitlements to health care provision, social security rights or unemployment insurance, amongst others. Alternatively, not registering with the host country authorities may be a conscious strategy by EU citizens concerned about the removal of their residence permit if they are in a financially precarious situation (see Chap.  7). In addition, the circular nature of migratory moves applies to a non-negligible number of Southern Europeans. Some migrants may thus not be interested in registering upon arrival if they plan a short-term stay. Such data limitations entail the possibility that recent migrants—like the newly arrived Southern Europeans—are under-represented in official data, while longer-term migrants, who arrived well before the crisis, are over-represented. As underlined in Chap.  8, well-settled migrants with stable housing and jobs are more likely to be included in large surveys such as the Labour Force Survey than are new migrants in a precarious housing situation.

Second, this book will look at the politics and policies of immigration from the perspective of both the sending and the receiving nations. Because of the uncertainties regarding the profile and motivations of those who leave their home country, Southern European governments have been speculating on the impact of this loss of labour force and on the appropriate policy response to adopt. Similarly, Northern European governments have had mixed attitudes towards this new influx of EU citizens. Reactions in Northern Europe have varied: some countries have set up programmes to actively recruit and train these migrants, while others have promulgated the stigmatization of mobile EU citizens. In this volume, each chapter has designed its own methodological approach to capture the policies and debates triggered by these new flows, but press and parliamentary documents have also been a privileged source used to make sense of these most recent evolutions. This approach shows how contentious the issue of intra-EU mobility is, even when it concerns citizens from EU-15 Member States whose right to move within the EU had not previously been questioned for several decades.

Overall, the strength of this edited volume is to compile in a systematic way a quantitative and qualitative analysis of these renewed Southern European migration flows. As this new wave of emigration has triggered debates and policy responses at the local, national and EU level, this book thus seeks—through a systematic analysis of these case studies—to shed light on the lessons that can be learned from this changing climate in EU migration.

1.2 Conceptualizing Crises and Migration

Crises are generally considered as “turning points” (Alink et al. 2001, 300) that trigger social phenomena—like migration—as well as public policy reforms. In the field of migration, economic crises are traditionally considered as opportunities to implement restrictive immigration policies. For instance, the Great Depression of the 1920s and the Oil Crises of the 1970s were both occasions during which states implemented stronger barriers to immigration. Scholars have noted that the 2008 financial and economic crises triggered two important transformations: migration policies have evolved at a rapid pace and migration flows have been taking new forms (Papademetriou and Terrazas 2009; Papademetriou et al. 2009; Cerna 2013).

First, with regard to policy-making, the economic crisis has prompted the public authorities of many Member States to adopt increasingly strict migration and integration policies. For authors such as Kuptsch (2012, 19), migration policy reforms in receiving countries during the global economic crisis have consisted mostly of four types of measure: making new immigration more difficult, protecting native workers from the perceived competition of foreign workers, adopting programmes and measures to encourage return migration and clamping down on irregular migrants. But while the connection between crises and stricter migration policies is appealing, the causal link is not always obvious. Considering that migration policies in Europe were already becoming stricter before the crisis, it remains unclear whether or not many of the reforms that are described in this book would have been adopted without the occurrence of the crisis. In other words, we should be aware of the risk of focusing on endogenous or exogenous events as simplistic explanations for migration policy reforms.

Defining crises and theorizing their role in policy-making is not an easy endeavour. One possible point of departure to understand the effect of the 2008 financial and economic crisis is thus to determine what defines a crisis and to identify the lines according to which this definition may vary. Nohrsted and Weible (2010, 3) have noted that crises are usually considered as “periods of disorder in the seemingly normal development of a system and widespread questioning or discrediting of established policies, practices, and institutions”. Yet, the nature of a crisis may differ according to certain variables. First, a crisis may be caused by either an internal or an external shock. For policy-makers, the geographic scale at which stimuli for policy reforms occur necessarily affects their ability to react. The intensity of the crisis provides the second line of variation. Crises—whether global or not—do not necessarily produce similar social, economic and political effects, nor do they affect equally all states to the same extent. However, existing research has not yet identified any correlation between the scale of a crisis and the importance of the reforms adopted in reaction to it. Third, crises also trigger diverse responses according to policy-makers’ prerogatives and, most importantly, according to their subjective interpretation of what is an appropriate response to the crisis. As we will see in the volume, several EU Member States have been severely hit by the 2008 financial and economic crisis. Yet, in spite of the broadly similar effects of the crisis on their socio-economic situations, states have reacted by adopting reforms in different policy areas or even by adopting diverging reforms within the same policy area.

The understanding of crisis-related migrations is further complicated when migration flows are themselves considered as crises. For instance, the growing influx of migrants and asylum seekers in the summer of 2015 has clearly been framed as an “immigration crisis” by both policy-makers and observers alike. Attaching the concept of crisis to flows rather than to their causes has important consequences on the policy-makers’ agenda: instead of tackling the social, political or economic root causes that trigger migration, policy reforms tend to focus solely on reducing flows to pre-crisis levels.

Alongside the critical approach to the concept of crisis that we aim to adopt in this volume, we also intend to be equally critical of the concepts used to describe the migration flows occurring during the recession. Our objective in this book is to concentrate on internal flows within the European Union, which we refer to interchangeably as mobility and migration.

As noted by Aybek and colleagues (2015), mobility and migration studies have historically different origins. Mobility studies have emerged in a context of progress in communication and transportation technologies since the late twentieth century. From this perspective, international migration—defined as long-term relocation across an international border—is just one among several possible transformations in people’s lives (along with long-distance commuting or internal migration for instance). Similarly, King and Skeldon (2010) invite us to consider the segmentation between internal mobility—usually understood as short-distance internal migration—and international migration research as artificial. Indeed, the existence of international migration is highly dependent on the definition of borders which are social constructs that are likely to change over time (Favell 2007). The fact that post-war Southern European guest workers progressively became mobile EU workers as their home state took part in the European integration process is a good illustration of how political projects can change the vocabulary used to describe people on the move (see Chap.  2).

In contemporary Europe, the concept of mobility is thus frequently used in public debates and policy circles to describe changes of residence from one EU Member State to another, whereas the concept of migration denotes the arrival within the EU of citizens proceeding from third countries (Glorius et al. 2013). However, in this book, the terms mobility and migration are both used to reflect changes of residence of EU citizens between different Member States. Combining these terms acknowledges that—in spite of both the specific context in which it occurs and its diverse characteristics—new Southern European migration presents some similarities with older twentieth century flows proceeding from those countries, with more recent flows from other parts of the EU but also with flows proceeding from outside the EU. This conceptual choice therefore aims to go beyond the implicit qualitative assessment hidden behind these two terms in policy debates according to which mobility—unlike migration—refers to voluntary and mostly desirable movements of EU citizens. By looking at the conditions in which Southern EU citizens decide to leave their home country and the treatment that some of them receive upon arrival in destination countries, we shall thus reconsider the validity of such an assessment.

This conceptual choice does not, however, lead us to consider EU internal migration and immigration of third country nationals to the EU as fully equivalent phenomena. Differences obviously remain in the context of departure and in the legal framework regulating the crossing of borders and access to the labour market. Even within the category of EU migrants, diversity also prevails: research has shown a multiplicity of socio-economic profiles, ranging from individuals belonging to the North Western European middle class (Recchi and Favell 2009) to blue collar workers from Central and Eastern Europe (Black et al. 2010). Furthermore, as shown very clearly through different typologies produced on new Central and Eastern European migration, categories of EU migrants that are sometimes perceived as relatively homogenous continue to display varying degrees of attachment to both their sending and receiving societies (Engbersen and Snel 2013). Based on this experience, this volume has taken great care to avoid presenting new Southern EU migrants as a homogeneous group, in spite of the various characteristics they may share.

1.3 Migration Flows in Times of Crisis and the Resulting Policy Responses

As this volume will demonstrate, migration flows in the European Union have changed during the economic crisis. In spite of growing unemployment, protectionism and xenophobia in destination countries, migration flows have not uniformly decreased in the EU. Focusing on the migration dynamics between Southern and Northern European Member States is particularly revealing of this diversification.

With the crisis, migration of EU citizens to other Member States has been on the rise: around eight million economically active EU citizens live in another Member State, representing 3.3 % of the labour force in 2013, compared to 1.6 % in 2004 and 2.4 % in 2008 (European Commission 2014b). While South-North migration of EU citizens significantly increased during this period, East-West migration within the EU—a phenomenon that preceded the crisis—did not significantly slow down during the same period (Kaczmarczyk 2014; Zaiceva and Zimmermann 2016). Similarly, the migration of third country nationals fleeing their homeland to enter the EU due to political or economic instability has also continued (Fargues and Frandrich 2012), and numbers increased significantly in 2015. This means that, overall, although some migration flows may have significantly decreased with the economic crisis (e.g. Romanian migration to Spain), other flows have continued almost unaffected by the recession, increasing or even reappearing after we thought they were in decline.

In explaining the renewed Southern European migration to Northern Europe, many observers have identified two crisis-related factors. First, high unemployment in the Southern EU Member States most affected by the crisis has pushed some of their nationals to look for employment opportunities abroad (either in Northern Member States or outside the EU). Similarly, many third-country migrants living in these countries have also either returned to their home countries or emigrated again to another country (see Chap.  6 on Spain). Second, rising levels of social exclusion and changing labour market conditions are another trigger for emigration. In Southern Europe, labour market reforms and cuts in wages have also rendered the position of many workers more vulnerable. Overall, it is worth noting that the share of non-mobile EU citizens at risk of poverty or social exclusion increased during the crisis and reached 22.8 % in 2013 (European Commission 2014a). In other words, beyond unemployment, increased social risks and bleak prospects offered by the labour market in Southern Europe may explain why individuals who held jobs during the crisis still went to look for alternative employment abroad.

Even though labour market conditions have worsened and social exclusion has clearly increased, this volume questions the role of the crisis as the sole factor explaining contemporary Southern European migration to Northern Europe. It does this in three ways. First, we examine South-North EU migration flows as long-term processes whose origins precede the crisis. The case of Portugal (see Chap.  5) best epitomizes this element. In Southern Europe, the intensification of departures often preceded the financial and economic crisis but received little interest for years because those flows were overshadowed by larger influxes of foreigners moving to these countries. For instance, in spite of the continuation of emigration throughout the 2000s, it is only when foreign immigration into Portugal stopped that the country started to think of itself again as an emigration country. Framing all contemporary migrations from Southern Europe as crisis-related flows might therefore hide a more complex reality: certain profiles of migrants—such as low-skilled workers—were already moving before the crisis, which in itself only served to intensify the phenomenon.

Second, labour market segmentation and an increased risk of social exclusion also find their roots prior to the crisis. In recent years, many Member States have undertaken reforms to curb social expenditure as part of their fiscal consolidation efforts. This has led to cuts in the levels of social protection benefits/services in some countries as well as efforts to restrict access (European Commission 2014a). Some of these reforms, however, preceded the crisis. Moreover, and most importantly, the process of segmentation of the labour market had been initiated long before the crisis, but it was seen subsequently to accelerate with the crisis. As shown very clearly in the case of Italy (Chap.  4), disparities in social protection between the precarious youth and older well-protected workers are long established. In Member States such as Germany and the United Kingdom, the numbers of workers in temporary and precarious low-paid jobs were already significant before the crisis. Despite the fact that these countries have exhibited better resistance than others to the effects of the economic crisis, the share of workers occupying such jobs there has similarly risen significantly during the crisis (see Chaps.  9 and  10).

1.4 New Migration, New Controversies and New Responses

While South-North migration is not at all a new phenomenon, we will demonstrate in this volume that the context in which it is occurring nowadays renders this new wave more controversial than previous ones. In addition to the deterioration of European economies and the changing conditions of the labour market described above, the legal and political contexts in which those migrations are occurring are significantly different from that of twentieth century guest worker programmes. First of all, the EU integration process has removed many administrative barriers to migration, but only for some migrants within the EU. Post-war guest workers proceeding from countries like Italy, who later became Member States of the European Community, have progressively enjoyed more rights than those coming from third countries like Morocco. Yet, these early migrants had arrived in Europe under broadly comparable regulations before World War II. As shown in Chap.  7 (Belgium), the favourable economic context in which those migration flows occurred and the legislative framework that supported the political integration of those migrants greatly contributed to their integration. For this reason, post-war Southern European migrants were often referred to as “desirable migrants” in contemporary debates of the time.

As shown by Roxana Barbulescu in Chap.  2, EU citizens’ support for freedom of circulation has remained high throughout the crisis. Yet, progressive EU enlargements seem to have eroded the support of political elites for this principle in different parts of Northern Europe. This means that new Southern European migrants are not necessarily able to capitalize on their predecessors’ “success” when moving North. This can be explained by the importance of East-West migration flows following the enlargement to EU-10 countries and the progressive lifting of restrictions on the freedom of circulation of their citizens. In spite of the fact that overall migration within the EU has remained limited, the intensification of specific flows of migrants to particular places has triggered tensions over issues such as social dumping and access to housing and social services in certain localities.

In particular, the use of social protection entitlements by EU migrants and third country nationals has become increasingly controversial in the context of the crisis. In different Member States, such as Belgium and the United Kingdom, governments have not only reduced the ability of immigrants to claim benefits in these countries, but they are also increasingly depicting EU and third-country migrants as “abusers” of their social protection systems (see Chaps.  7 and  10) and as “unreasonable burdens” on their public finances. In spite of their existence for several decades, the resurgence of the concepts of “welfare magnets” or “welfare shoppers” to delegitimize immigrants’ access to social protection is, however, not surprising in a context of crisis when states are looking at ways to decrease public spending (Böhning 1972; Borjas 1998; Schierup et al. 2006; De Giorgi and Pellizzari 2009; Giulietti et al. 2013).

Few specific academic reports have responded directly to the new wave of accusations regarding the fiscal cost of migration (Dustmann and Frattini 2013). Nevertheless, studies on the fiscal impact of migration, developed by international organizations such as the European Commission (EC) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), have pointed out that—in spite of the fact that measuring the impact of migration is rendered complicated by the diversity and large number of policies to which immigrants contribute—the impact of migration on public finances is very frequently positive (European Commission 2013; OECD 2013). At the political level, the Commission has also repeated in different communications made by its Commissioner responsible for employment, social affairs and inclusion that freedom of circulation concerns only a small minority of EU workers. Moreover, the migration resulting from this freedom generates wealth inside the Union and, most importantly, it is a founding principle of the EU about which the Commission is not willing to make concessions (European Commission 2014c).

Following the terms of Directive 2004/38/EC on the free movement of EU citizens, Member States have, however, recently started to pay particular attention to the provision allowing the removal of residence permits from EU nationals in need of social assistance, i.e. those who represent a “burden” on the public finances of the host state. As several states are now aiming to reduce the number of foreigners receiving benefits in times of crisis, this practice is gaining traction. At the same time, a likely consequence of this practice is that numerous EU migrants will refrain from making use of their right to social protection, due to a lack of knowledge about these benefits or for fear of losing their right to residence. This is particularly concerning since, in 2013, 48.7 % of third-country migrants aged 18 and over residing in the EU-28 and 28.1 % of EU migrants were at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

Member States that are receiving this new wave of Southern European migrants are, however, not unanimously rejecting it. As shown by Klekowski and Höhne in Chap.  9, Germany, for instance, has adopted specific measures to encourage the migration and integration into the labour market of young European migrants. These programmes, which were advertised in Southern Europe, caught the attention of thousands of young Spaniards, who moved to Germany with a contract guaranteeing an apprenticeship and language classes. While this programme is limited in scale, it clearly illustrates the fact that the crisis has also represented an opportunity for certain industries facing shortages of skilled workers. While it represents a basic application of the principle of freedom of circulation within the EU, the attraction of Southern European talent to Northern European labour markets triggers its own set of controversies. First, as shown in Chap.  9, the risk continues that, due to difficulties involved in the recognition of qualifications across Europe, some highly-skilled Southern European migrants might end up working in jobs that do not maximize their skills (i.e. leading to “brain waste”). Second, by recruiting explicitly qualified workers, will Northern European Member States not be undermining the ability of Southern European countries to recover from the crisis?

These questions have been raised in countries of both destination and origin. As shown in the four Southern European case studies in this edited volume, the authorities in sending countries have reacted very differently to these new flows. On the one hand, Portugal and Italy have debated the issue of emigration in Parliament and their emigration-related authorities (e.g. consultative councils on emigration) have brought the issue onto the national agenda. However, as shown by José-Carlos Marques and Pedro Góis in Chap.  5, in the case of Portugal, the issue of emigration is being used in the domestic political arena to support or question the management of the economic crisis by the authorities. On the other hand, Spain and Greece appear to have been less reactive, in spite of the large emigration waves of recent years. In the case of Spain, in particular, Bermudez Torres and Brey’s chapter (Chap.  6) shows clearly that acknowledging the very existence of crisis-related emigration is a controversial topic. The Spanish government’s uneasy position on these flows epitomizes the dilemma faced by sending states. On the one hand, recognizing the existence of crisis-related flows is a necessary step towards addressing some of the difficulties encountered by citizens abroad and preparing for their possible return when the socio-economic context improves. On the other hand, denying the existence of such flows is a way to avoid politically damaging debates on the responsibility by the governments of sending countries in creating those new migration waves.

1.5 Structure of the Book

Following this introduction, which has conceptualized the issue of South-North migration of EU citizens in a time of crisis, Chap.  2 tracks down the evolution of freedom of movement within the EU and documents its retrenchment in the context of the crisis. In that chapter, Roxana Barbulescu argues that—even though it is the mobility of Eastern European citizens that has triggered negative reactions and restrictive policies—this new mobility has very concrete and serious consequences on new Southern European migrants.

Chapters  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8,  9, and  10 are country-specific chapters containing case studies looking at the issue of South-North EU migration from the perspective of selected sending and receiving nations. This approach deserves two comments. First, while we agree that such a state-centred approach may give the wrong impression that these new flows are unilateral and permanent, we also felt that it would provide us with the right angle to identify the specific issues and varying reactions being triggered by this new mobility in different parts of Europe. Furthermore, given the aforementioned difficulties in measuring flows between EU countries, we consider that using sending and receiving country data provides the reader with a more complete and accurate description of this phenomenon.

Second, because this volume does not have a purely comparative ambition, the eight countries under study were selected along two lines. The four sending countries featured in this volume were selected from among the group of Member States most severely hit by the crisis. Because of the diverse socio-economic situations between countries like Greece and Italy, the relevance of the category of “Southern European Member States” could, however, be called into question. This is particularly true when we think of Ireland or the Baltic states, which have experienced very similar difficulties during the crisis. Yet, we maintain that the category of Southern European Member States is a valid unit of analysis because of the common history of twentieth century migration from those countries to Northern Europe. In several cases, these migration flows has been associated in public discourses with successful integration processes (see D’Amato 2005; Safi 2006; Martiniello 2013). This contrasts strongly with the current distrust and sometimes opposition towards new European migrants in most Northern European Member States.

The capacity of Northern Europe to remain—in spite of variations from case to case—an attractive destination area for immigrants explains the geographical focus of this volume. Naturally, this part of Europe has also been affected by the crisis but with varying degrees of intensity and different timings. The four receiving countries studied in this volume—Belgium, France, Germany and the United Kingdom—have been selected not only because of their better economic performance during the crisis compared to Southern European EU countries but also because their governments have reacted differently to the economic crisis and, most importantly, to the new influx of Southern European migrants. Whereas Belgium and the United Kingdom have reacted mostly with hostility, France could be qualified as being indifferent and Germany very encouraging towards specific types of new Southern EU migrants.

In Chap.  3, Georgia Mavrodi and Michalis Moutselos show that the skills, migratory paths and numbers of recent migrants are quantitatively and qualitatively different from those of post-war migration. Meanwhile, elite discourse around new migration has mostly been anchored to the debates for/against austerity and no targeted policies have been developed to facilitate the trajectories or the return of the new migrants. This contrasts very strongly with the case of Italy, as discussed in Chap.  4 by Guido Tintori and Valentina Romei. The authors question the idea of a brain drain from the country in favour of a more balanced approach, which takes into consideration the diversity of profiles among new emigrants. With this approach, the authors examine how the sense of political alert about a possible brain drain intertwines with post-crisis labour market reforms. Chapter  5 by José Carlos Marques and Pedro Góis questions the concept of crisis-related migration by showing that Portuguese emigration was already a significant phenomenon before the crisis but that this has been ignored because of the policy-makers’ focus on immigration into Portugal. Their chapter also shows that, while Portugal has had a tradition of engaging with its citizens abroad, limited actions have been taken to assist new emigrants beyond alarmist discourses in Parliament. In this sense, the authors’ conclusions are very comparable to those made in Chap.  6 by Anastasia Bermudez Torres and Elisa Brey, who also note a lack of engagement with, if not a sense of antagonism towards, new emigrants. In Spain, the very acknowledgement of the existence of crisis-related migration is a topic of contention between governing and opposition parties. Yet, in spite of the difficulty involved in measuring the exact number of emigrants and in differentiating them from return migrants, their account of the mobilization of new Spanish emigrants is very telling of the transformation of Spanish communities in Northern Europe.

The next four chapters reverse the perspective and look at how new Southern European migrants have been received and at the policies, controversies, or indifference they have generated. In Chap.  7, Jean-Michel Lafleur and Mikolaj Stanek show how favourable Belgium could have been in principle to new Southern European migration because of the positive image associated with twentieth century Italian migration. However, a large influx of Central and Eastern European migrants to Belgium, coupled with the economic crisis, have decisively transformed policy-makers’ rhetoric towards EU migrants. As the authors show, this hostility has recently developed into a policy—which has particularly hit Southern European migrants—of the systematic removal of residence permits from EU citizens who make use of social assistance for extended periods of time.

On a similar theme, Chap.  10 on the United Kingdom, by Alessio D’Angelo and Eleonore Kofman, describes how social policies are increasingly being used as a substitute for migration policies by Member States. The UK, however, is the first destination country for tertiary educated, Southern European migrants. The UK is also characterized by a political and policy context of anti-immigration sentiment in the mainstream political discourse, often conflated with a criticism of the EU system of free movement. Chapters  8 and  9 offer very different accounts of Southern European migration. In Chap.  8, Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels and Jutta Höhne discuss the top-down and bottom-up recruitment of skilled Southern Europeans by Federal Employment Agencies, regional offices, trade associations and employers themselves during the crisis. In spite of emerging xenophobic discourses that exist in countries receiving Southern Europeans, the authors show that this new migration has mostly been framed as part of the response to a lack of skilled workers, as well as contributing to a resolution of the emerging demographic challenges. In Chap.  9, Tatiana Eremenko, Elsa Steichen and Nora El Qadim confirm the diversity of profile in the new Southern European migration. They underline the fact that recent controversies and regulations concerning migration in France have spared Southern Europeans, but have focused instead on third country and EU citizens from Central and Eastern Europe.

To conclude this volume, two chapters draw the most important lessons from the case studies. In Chap.  11, Jean-Michel Lafleur, Mikolaj Stanek and Alberto Veira attempt to find an answer to the question of whether we are witnessing the reopening and repetition of previous South-North migration waves from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. In this process of cross analysis of data from the different chapters, the authors identify the main features of both the current and previous waves of migration. They also analyse the social and economic context in which the new South-North migration has been taking place. The authors argue that although the South to North migratory route has been re-established during the recent economic crisis, there are several features that make the previous and current migration waves barely comparable. Finally, in Chap.  12, Jean-Michel Lafleur and Mikolaj Stanek build on the different case studies, to identify five main lessons emerging from the renewed migration flows of Southern European EU citizens. The authors argue that evidence from the multidimensional exploration of new South-North migration contained in this volume shows that while new Southern European migration has not been the most important migration phenomenon in Europe in the past decade, its study is key to understanding contemporary migration dynamics within the EU.

Overall, this book brings to light several issues that, to date, have not always been clearly and explicitly addressed or assessed within the context of intra-EU mobility. Among other issues, it reaffirms that migration is not only a strategy for individuals and households but also for governments to deal with the deterioration of their country’s employment situation. It also demonstrates increasing segmentation in both access to freedom of circulation and access to certain welfare provisions, which varies according to the nationality of EU migrants. Finally, it shows that the already fragile balance between labour supply and productive structure in Southern European EU countries might be affected by the outflow of highly skilled workers.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FRS-FRNS, Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies (CEDEM)University of LiègeLiègeBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and CommunicationUniversity of SalamancaSalamancaSpain

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