The phenomenon of migration to, from, and within Europe is not new. People migrate for different reasons - political, religious or employment - and the enlargement of the EU to 27 members has had an enormous impact on migration trends within Europe. Since the EU is characterised by the freedom of movement for capital, services and labour, the latter of which is deeply connected to migration, it stands to reason that exploring current migration trends will assist in understanding the nature of the EU itself. This is precisely what Heinz Fassmann, Max Haller and David Lane set out to achieve in the in-depth analysis of migration trends found in their work entitled: Migration and Mobility in Europe: Trends, Patterns and Controls.
According to Fassmann, Haller and Lane, the changes to migration trends are measured in quantitative degrees of intra-European and intercontinental migration, as well as the average distance of migration. There are several new or altered forms of migration in such as: migration of highly qualified persons; seasonal migration of farm labourers; and migration of trades people and students.
In the EU27, roughly 8.8 percent of the total population are foreign-born (p. 1) with the highest numbers of foreign-born citizens being reported in Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Greece and the Netherlands. At the same time, the highest proportions of foreigners as part of a total population are found in the smaller European countries such as Andorra, San Marino, Lichtenstein and Switzerland, where foreigners represent up to one-fifth of the total population. In Luxembourg, the proportion rises to 34 percent.
Several chapters of this work demonstrate the constant demand for relatively cheap labour in many economic sectors throughout the EU27, though the type of demand is dependent on the economic development of specific countries. Often, domestic employees leave low-wage sectors if there are employment options in a growing economy, and their jobs are subsequently filled by foreign workers. Shortages, in some branches, are related to demographic changes in Europe. Decreasing numbers of births results in declining numbers of entrants into the labour market. But the possibility of immigrants from low-income countries gives rise to concerns among the older member states. If existing trends continue they will have a dramatic impact and may have serious implications for national identity. Indeed, there is growing public anxiety in Western Europe about such perceived challenges and opposition to immigration is visibly increasing. The main reasons for such trends are typically rooted in cultural and racial discrimination, though economic considerations also play an increasingly important role.
Despite the highly publicised fears, there are some who genuinely support more liberal immigration policies and claim that large-scale immigration could produce great economic benefits for Western European states.
This book grew out of an international conference entitled: Migration in Europe: Threat or Benefit, which was held in Vienna in 2007. It was the fifth conference of the Network ‘Strategic Elites and EU Enlargement.' The book boasts more than twenty contributors and offers an overview of different aspects of mobility and migration in the development of the EU27.
The work is divided into four main parts: the first part is dedicated to assessing the costs and benefits of migration answering whether ‘European societies need more migration, what are the societal and economic effects and who can benefit from further migration?' (p. 3). The answers to these questions are controversial. Rowthorn discusses the winners and losers of migration in Europe through an investigation of three principle actors: the migrant themselves, the existing inhabitants of the receiving country, and those who remain in the sending country. Those who migrate usually benefit from their choice, but the impact of migration on the other parties involved is yet unclear; some forms are beneficial for the inhabitants of the receiving country, while others are harmful. The same situation is true for people who remain in the sending country.
Rowthorn not only explores the economic impact of migration, but also provides an economic overview of the demographic situation and migration within the enlarged EU. He examines the impact of outward migration from Eastern Europe on the labour market, age structure and government finances within the receiving countries of Western Europe. He argues that migration from Eastern to Western Europe will have only a minor economic impact on the average citizen in the receiving countries. Some people will benefit from the inflow of immigrants, but some people will lose. He closes the chapter by considering the implications of further EU expansion embracing Turkey, the Ukraine and eventually even North Africa.
Another expert who discusses the costs and benefits of migration is Heschl who claims that the question of international migration for receiving countries is always answered based on collective interests. There are always alternative perspectives, and the ideas of unions and labour representatives are often contrasting with those of employees and employers. Heschl focuses on the Austrian example and tries to describe objective facts and figures linked to international migration. He shows that labour migration to Austria is associated with the distribution of income and wealth and the increase in immigration has led to an increase in unemployment. There was also a shift of income from labour to capital. On the other hand, a positive effect is demonstrated: labour immigration positively affects employment rates and economic growth in certain, crucial, times.
Heschl also claims that demand for more skilled migration is a part of a myth-building process. The myth of a shortage of skilled workers is believed as being reality by wide sections of the public - there is always a percentage of workers (highly or less skilled) who will work more efficiently for lower wages he suggests.
Fouarge and Ester focus on something altogether different. They investigate the main intentions of Europeans to migration. The authors use the special module on mobility of the Eurobarometer Survey. This survey was held in September 2005 and the findings are very interesting. They indicate that most Europeans have no intentions to move to another country. Only 5.4 percent of the working-age population intends to move to another country within the next five years. Interestingly, highly educated, single, young Europeans - especially students - are the most mobile. Mobility intentions are strongly linked to past migration. People who have migrated in the past are likely to migrate again in the future. Movers tend to stay movers.
The second part of the book turns to patterns of migration and mobility. Braun and Recchi's aim, for instance, is to map out the objective and subjective differences within the rather loose category of intra-EU migrants in the five largest EU15 countries - Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain - and use multiple correspondence analyses to that end. This part of the book provides clear examples of the new pattern of migration and mobility within Europe. One of the most pronounced is Polish immigration to the UK. This phenomenon is termed the ‘Polish plumber phenomenon.' The second case reveals the patterns of mobility and migration of Western Europe citizens to Turkey, a novel investigation. Turkey was an emigration country for guest workers who were mainly heading to Germany, but recently Turkey has evolved into a receiving country as more and more pensioners from Western Europe choose it as a country of residence, thereby undercutting existing stereotypes.
The third section of this work deals with problems of return and migrant integration and pays attention to EU programmes particularly the European Commission's attempts at implementing new forms of circular migration. Unfortunately there is, as yet, no comprehensive picture of return migrant's employment trends due to the non-existence of related population registers - at the EU level - which would allow researchers to distinguish people who have lived abroad. Saarela and Finnäs, in their limited but informative study, use population register data from Finland and have found that return migrants are highly selected with regard to some latent personal characteristics with severe negative effects on job finding probability, a fact which is probably replicated throughout the EU.
The last major chapter is devoted to the issue of state control and citizens' rights. Controls are among the major dilemmas facing migration - it is a consequence of the growing levels of migration. It is necessary to mention that the ability of the EU to control immigration flows is, to a certain extent an, illusion. The book concludes by noting that ‘those who live in the EU have the right to free movement within it - this is their human right and concurrently contributes to the wealth of the EU; whereas those whose birthplace is outside are increasingly excluded' (p. 11).
This book is a current and relevant study, full of references and many types of tables and figures. It appeals to researchers, students and scholars in fields such as European studies, international relations or sociology and is suitable for those interested in migrant workers in different countries e.g. Austria, Finland, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
Although this review only provides a snapshot of the book's vivid depiction of migration trends and consequences, it should be stressed that such a comprehensive study serves to illustrate the dynamics of the issues - direct and indirect - involved as the EU emerges from an intergovernmental organisation into a supranational entity bound by the free-flow of goods, services and, people.