Bruegel’s new report on migration and mobility in the European Union

Breugel Institute has recently published a new report: “People on the move: migration and mobility in the European Union”. 

Deeper look into migration processes in the EU

It is written by interdisciplinary researchers: Uuriintuya BatsaikhanZsolt Darvas i Inês Gonçalves Raposo. One of their set goals, which guided the work on the report, were to verify how common opinions and beliefs about migration in the EU comply with the facts. Another was to carry out a complex analysis in the view of recent problems and phenomena. The key topics of the analysis are e.g.  statistics, demographic data and main migration trends with opinions and beliefs on the phenomenon. Morover, study of the extent and impact of integration of immigrants on the labor market and economy. Report illustrates how different in particular EU Member States are the methods of examining asylum applications. The authors repeatedly emphasise:

„Common understanding of simple facts on migration is very often far from reality”.

Promotion of sources containing hard data on this topic may help in better understanding of individual phenomena. An excellent example is the posting of workers under the freedom to provide services within EU. There are many stereotypes contrary to facts and statistics regarding that field. It had its consequences in the activities of the European Commission and in the draft revision of the Posting Directive.

Posting of workers in a wider context

It is impossible to talk about migration trends within the European Union without raising the issue of posting of workers which has been a very hot topic in Europe recently. Authors have dedicated a part of the report to the posting of workers within analysis of migration trends in the EU and political consequences of current changes in the Community (we particularly recommend to read on this topic chapter 7.2, p. 161). Authors show the suprising political  renonwn (let’s take into account the small percentage of workers in the labour market who benefit from this possibility) which gained works on Posting of Workers Directive:

„Posted workers from central and eastern European countries account for a mere 0.15 percent of the population in north-west EU countries, which makes it surprising that the revision of the EU Posted Workers Directive (96/71/EC) has received such prominent attention in EU policy debates.”

Moreover, immigration from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to the Western Europe did not significantly affect on the situation of local workers. The problem of unemployment appeared in Western Europe in 2008 and it deepened in recent years, coinciding with inflow of workers from eastern countries of  the EU.

Proposed solutions

In the last part of the publication there is a series of recommendation that EU countries and institutions can take to address a current problems. Many of them refers to the issue of posting of workers. The most important recommendations are to:

  • fight illegal employment  (85-90 % of the Europeans think that this issue is neglected). Desired effect of the action might be improvement perception about immigrants.
  • use the best practices in the field of integration of immigrants – European countries have barely no success in this area. According to the authors cooperation with the private sector and social partners should play a key role in the integration process
  • undertake problem of lack of the jobs through extensive and comprehensive measures e.g. reduction of jobs in the public sector for the private one, need for new solutions in the field of taxation and coordination of social security systems. The aim of it is to increase wages while keeping the labor costs on the same level.

During the reading of the Bruegel publication appears unoptimistic conclusion. Negative misconceptions concerning immigrants coming to the EU recently applies as well to the workers from Central and Eastern Europe. Very common reason for these beliefes is unemployment and the situation on the labor market (independent from foreign employees). The report shows that there are many measures that can be used to combat often neglected problems in the European Union and to overcome negative stereotypes.

Labour Mobility Initiative

Labour Mobility Initiative is Europe’s largest think thank dealing with work, mobility and posting of workers. Since 2013 it has been bringing together scholars, enterpreneurs, trade unions and public administration to create the only Polish and the largest European substantive forum for exchanging knowledge on the posting of workers in the framework of freedom to provide services. more >>>