Free Movement in the European Union: An Audit
June 19, 2018
The story of the free movement of people is a complicated and tumultuous one, encompassing divergent interests, discourses, and perceptions. The edifice of rules and rights that underlies it reflects these differences and has evolved to hold some inherent contradictions and tensions.
This paper of work package 12 explores some of the main controversies and examines whether the roots lie in the way the system was designed, or in how it is implemented in practice. It explores the history and original rationale for free movement and analyses whether it has fulfilled its overarching objectives.
The paper also examines the main criticisms of free movement from EU member states and their publics, and assesses whether these criticisms are borne out by the evidence.
The authors conclude by discussing whether the underlying tensions and trade-offs at the heart of the free movement system can be resolved and look ahead to possible reform.