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Inhaltsbereich: Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung

Labour mobility within the EU in the context of enlargement and the functioning of the transitional arrangements

Project Number

1003

Head of Project

Project Staff


Project Start

November 2007

End of Project

December 2008

Abstract

In the course of the last two enlargement rounds of the European Union (EU), transitional periods have been agreed which allow to restrict the free movement of workers. Transitional periods for the free movement of workers have been agreed with eight new Member States from Central and Eastern Europe, which joined the EU at May 1 2004 (NMS-8), and with the two new Member States (NMS-2) which joined the EU at January 1, 2007. Moreover, Turkey and the countries in the Western Balkan have the status of an accession candidate or potential accession candidate, such that the free movement of workers is an important issue for labour mobility between the incumbent EU Member States and these countries in the future. According to Eurostat (2007), some 1.8 millions persons from the ten new Member States (NMS-10) from Central and Eastern Europe resided in the EU-15 by the end of 2005. While migration flows from the NMS-8 into many EU-15 countries have been modest since 2004, other countries such as the UK and Ireland have experienced substantial migration from there since enlargement. There have been also substantial migration flows from the NMS-2 to Spain and Italy since the beginning of this decade. Beyond economic aspects, the selective application of restrictions for the free movement of workers has influenced the direction and structure of migration flows between the EU and the new Member States, which have subsequently affected labour markets and the economies of the receiving and sending countries. According to the 2+3+2 formula for the transitional periods, the 2 year period for the NMS-2 expires by the end of 2008, and the 5 year period for the NMS-8 in 2009. The European Council will review the functioning of the transitional periods on basis of a report from the Commission two years after the enlargement and further Commission reports may be requested by any of the Member States concerned.
Against this background, the European Commission aims two main objectives: First, to assess the impact of the transitional periods on the size, destination, and structure of labour mobility and the subsequent economic and social effects on the destination and sending countries. Second, to review critically the different estimation strategies which have been carried out before enlargement and to estimate the potential flows from the ten new Member States and the Candidate Countries.
The study will adress the first objective by a comprehensive analysis of the data on the size and the structure of migration flows, by an assessment of the impact of actual and potential labour mobility on the labour markets and economies in the sending and destination countries on basis of several simulation models, and by a complementary analysis of the impact of labour mobility on the brain drain, gender issues and social cohesion.

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