Challenges facing free movement in the European Union after Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic


Challenges facing free movement in the European Union after Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic

Republikon Intézet

Our volume ‘Challenges facing free movement in the European Union after Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic’ wishes to consider the state and political consequences on internal migration in the European Union. A new development in the European Union since 2015 was the migration issue as a central political campaign topic in old and new member states as well. However, while immigration into the European Union is widely discussed, internal migration within the EU is a neglected issue in pan- European debates. Nevertheless internal migration caused social, political tensions in host countries and in countries of origin as well. During the Brexit campaign antimigrant sentiments were oriented towards citizens of new member states. Nevertheless there are also good practices of integration in host countries. In Hungary and Poland westward migration is deemed as a political answer to illiberalism. While in the old member states cheap labor force from the east is perceived as a threat for blue-collar workers, in new member states internal migration drains skilled workforce. These conflicts over the free movement of workers can seriously harm the idea of a single European market. The volume wishes to point out that the free movement of workers should promote a European single market, global competitiveness and stability but not social and political disturbance. This issue is becoming more relevant after the COVID-19 appeared in Europe as well, as free movement was seriously constrained in the Schengen Area. While the consequences of the new coronavirus on free movement in the EU is yet unknown, it could seriously harm the idea of unrestricted mobility in Europe.

This volume is published as part of the European Liberal Forum and Republikon Institute’s project ‘Internal migration in the European Union: liberal answers’. The contributors in this volume assess the political and economic conflicts, actions, consequences caused by these tensions, inter alia the Brexit, rise of the populist right, workforce shortage and brain drain in new member states, politically motivated westward migration and the COVID-19 pandemic. Carmen Descamps analyzes the institutional background of EU citizenship and discusses the consequences of Brexit on mobility in the European Union. She warns that many EU citizens have built a life in the notion of borderless mobility in the EU. Also, the mobility of citizens can be a crucial part of upcoming negotiations between the EU and the United Kingdom. Nils Erik Forsgård focuses on the demographic and workforce developments in Nordic countries and especially in Finland. He concludes that the challenges stemming from an ageing society can be solved only with the help of external migration. Giulio Saputo discusses the meaning of nationalism from a historical-philosophical perspective. According to him national identities cannot be simply substituted with a similar European nationalism, which would only reaffirm the idea of "Fortress Europe". Instead of that civilization, consistent high moral principles can be the frameworks of the right political decisions. Andrea Virág and her colleagues analysing the Hungarian case of youth, student mobility in Europe. They identify two contradictious tendencies: while the number of students and workers leaving Hungary also because of political reasons is growing, the lack of proper, state funded foreing language education is the most relevant obstacle of intea-European mobility. The authors also make recommendations in order to ease these problems, while reinforcing the freedom of mobility in the EU.



The whole publication is available HERE.