While free movement is at the heart of the European project, the merits and impacts of intra-EU mobility have come under significant scrutiny recently amid public anxiety about competition for jobs and exploitation of welfare systems. This report provides a detailed assessment of free movement, motivations for migration, and challenges countries may need to address as intra-EU mobility enters its next phase.
As the European Commission looks ahead to the next strategic program for immigration in 2014, this policy brief sketches the challenges in developing a strategic, long-term agenda on migration at a time when Europe remains beset by fiscal uncertainty and a jobs crisis that is particularly acute for the young. Against such a backdrop, few governments are willing to have a serious conversation about anything but skilled immigration.
Migration flows that were stalled for a period by the pronounced recession that began in 2008 have resumed to a number of OECD countries, including the United States where there appears to be a slight increase in Mexican migration for the first time in several years. More migrants seem to be choosing emerging economies, including Brazil, China, and South Africa, over traditional destinations.
The electoral fortunes of far-right parties, a number of which campaigned using anti-immigrant messages, varied during 2012, with notable albeit small advances for Greece’s extremist Golden Dawn party. For the most part, however, extreme-right politicians continue to struggle to build sizeable support; and in Europe, the anti-immigration discourse has been overshadowed by anti-Brussels rhetoric and anger over high unemployment and austerity measures.
In 2012, significant challenges to existing EU policy, from Schengen to the Common European Asylum System, have constituted the chief concerns for migration management for both EU Member States and the European Commission. Beyond EU borders, there will be additional pressure for the European Union to offer a more concerted humanitarian response to the Syrian refugee crisis affecting Europe's neighbor Turkey in 2013.
Arrivals of unaccompanied minors to the United States surged during 2012, straining the child custody system. While the flows of unaccompanied child migrants to Europe remained stable, the European Union continues to grapple with policies regarding the treatment of this uniquely vulnerable population.
Belgium is often overlooked as a country of immigration because of its size and its less known history of immigration. Yet over the last three decades Belgium has become a permanent country of settlement for many different types of migrants. Our updated Belgium profile delves into modern migration flows and policies in Belgium which are inching away from a piecemeal approach towards a well-needed, long-term strategy.
Once known for large-scale emigration, Greece has become the main point of entry for unauthorized migrants heading toward Europe. The country must now — amid economic turmoil — grapple with issues related to its highly porous borders, mounting asylum applications, and inadequate immigrant-detention system.