Blog Post

Labour force(d) mobility: Migration in Europe

The free movement of labour is not only a key pillar of the European project, but also essential to the proper functioning of a monetary union. Inspired by this theme and the tone of the current political debate, we present 4 informative charts.

By: and Date: November 26, 2014 European Macroeconomics & Governance Tags & Topics

Last month Bruegel held an event exploring migration in the EU and the impact migration has on society and its contribution to sustainable economic growth. The free movement of labour is not only a key pillar of the European project, but also essential to the proper functioning of a monetary union. Inspired by this theme and the tone of the current political debate, we present 4 informative charts.

Net migration rate per 1000 inhabitants in Europe, 2012

Source: Bruegel based on Eurostat, most recent data, 2012.

This heat map shows the net migration rate (immigration minus emigration) expressed per 1000 inhabitants. High net immigration is represented as green in the graph, while high net emigration is represented as red.

There is a high degree of heterogeneity across EU countries, for example Germany and Belgium have net inflows of 4.3 and 6.5 migrants per 1000 inhabitants, while for Spain and Greece, the numbers are -3 and -4 (implying more people are leaving than arriving, on balance).

Unemployment and Net migration

The next two charts show the association between the unemployment rate and net migration rate.

Note: LU was excluded as an outlier in order to preserve the scale

Source: Bruegel based on Eurostat

The first chart shows simple levels whilst the second chart presents this information as changes between 2007 and 2012 (most recent data available). Countries that experienced more severe downturns due to the crisis (high rises in unemployment) have seen a larger outflow of people and lower net migration.

In general, we have seen that countries with worse economic health have seen larger net outflows of people, and that those leaving have mostly gone to the countries in better economic shape.

Main Destinations in Core Europe

Notes: We identify the main destinations in Core Europe by examining the breakdown of population by country of citizenship in 2013; Last available data for LU is 2008; GR, BG, HU, CZ, CY, HR had no available data for the UK. Benelux: BE, NL, LU.

Source: Bruegel based on Eurostat

In the last chart we present the population living in Core European nations by country of citizenship. The member-states in the right and left are the main senders, while the ones in the center are the main hosts in Core Europe.

Economic migration not only helps as a macro stabiliser, which is an essential step towards an optimal currency area, but is also beneficial on the micro level. Labour mobility helps improve potential firm-worker matching, ameliorate skills shortages, and fosters international commerce, for example, by reducing cultural barriers to trade.



Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Anyone is free to republish and/or quote this post without prior consent. Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post.

View comments
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

External Publication

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 12.31.18

Improving the Responses to the Migration and Refugee Crisis in Europe

What must be done to over- come the intra-European conflict and achieve a bal- ance that produces common ground allowing for a po- litical and social consensus on migration?

By: Massimo Bordignon, Yves Pascouau, Matthias M. Mayer, Mehrdad Mehregani, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Meghan Benton, Pedro Góis and Simone Moriconi Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 13, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Zsolt Darvas

Questionable immigration claims in the Brexit white paper

The UK government's white paper on Brexit suggested that the EU's "free movement of people" has made it impossible to control immigration. This seems to rest on an assumption that EU citizens can "move and reside freely" in any member state. Zsolt Darvas finds these arguments problematic, and points out that it is difficult to infer public opinion about immigration from the referendum result.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 8, 2017
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Silvia Merler

The economic effects of migration

What’s at stake: migration is currently a very hot topic in both the US and the EU. Immigration issues have come to the forefront due to the problem of rapidly ageing populations, the refugee crisis, and growing anti-immigration political rhetoric. But what do we know about the economic effects of migration?

By: Silvia Merler Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 16, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Can migration work for all in Europe?

On 9 January Bruegel together with the IMF organized a conference on migration and whether it can work for all in Europe.

Speakers: Michał Boni, Gianpiero Dalla Zuanna, Maria Demertzis, Samuel Engblom, Antje Gerstein, Anna Ilyina, David Lipton, Stefano Scarpetta, Alessandra Venturini and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 9, 2017
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Labour mobility after Brexit

What will Brexit mean for the free movement of workers between the UK and the EU?

Speakers: Lindsey Barras, Zsolt Darvas, Jonathan Portes and Klaus F. Zimmermann Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: December 2, 2016
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Vision Europe Summit 2016

The 2016 Vision Europe Summit is titled "Redesigning European Migration and Refugee Policy" and will be held in Lisbon on 21-22 November 2016.

Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Lisbon Date: November 21, 2016
Read article More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

The future of Europe

Europe is at a crossroads. What must European leaders do to combat populism, the refugee crisis, and low growth?

By: Bruegel Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Global Economics & Governance Date: September 7, 2016
Read article More by this author

Blog Post

Zsolt Darvas

Single market access from outside the EU: three key prerequisites

In relative terms, Norway’s current net financial contribution to the EU is similar to the UK’s. Switzerland and Liechtenstein pay surprisingly little, while Iceland is a net beneficiary. Relative to their population, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein received about twice as large an inflow of EU immigrants as the UK. These countries also have to adopt the vast majority of EU regulation to gain access to the single market.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 19, 2016
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol

UK political elite used poverty & immigration fears to secure leave vote

The bulk of UK Leave voters come from disadvantaged areas, and perceive immigration as a threat. But significant exceptions to this trend in England and most importantly in Scotland make it hard to draw a simple causal link between wealth, immigration, and voting patterns.

By: Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 29, 2016
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Uuriintuya Batsaikhan

The day after Brexit: what do we know?

With the UK referendum on EU membership on 23 June, Europe is contemplating the practical consequences of a vote to leave.

By: Uuriintuya Batsaikhan Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 22, 2016
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Zsolt Darvas

What is the age profile of UK immigrants?

The bulk of immigrants to the UK from 2008-2014 were 20-30 years old, and many of them are in work. But as UK unemployment is close to a historical low since 1975, it is hard to see how immigrants have taken away the jobs of natives on a large scale.

By: Zsolt Darvas Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: June 8, 2016
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

Guntram B. Wolff

European financing for the European refugee crisis

Protecting the EU's external borders is a shared task, which can be most effectively carried out if paid for with common funding. A tax on carbon combined with borrowing could fund refugee policy and also help the EU achieve its climate goals.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: May 11, 2016
Load more posts