European Labour Market Mobility

When we mention the term European labour market mobility we are referring to the geographic movement of workers within the EU. In 1968 it first became possible for EU citizens to move and work freely in the EU without the need for a permit. This was a positive symbol for European integration and EU citizens also have a positive attitude towards the movement on a whole. It allows for EU citizens to search for better jobs, have the opportunity to achieve higher incomes and possibly also increase their standard of living by moving to other EU member states.

However, despite this, mobility within the EU tends to be low and according to the geographical and labour market mobility report by the European commission, only 2% of EU citizens live in another EU member state. What could explain such a low percentage? Possibly cultural differences, language barriers and even problems getting university degrees and professional qualifications recognised all discourage EU citizens from actually moving to another EU member state despite their positive attitude towards the idea of it. Additionally, monetary costs of initial movement could discourage some EU citizens and temporary regulations have limited the movement to some member states.

The idea of free movement within the European labour market is therefore a positive one but in reality is it one which many EU citizens will actually take part in and benefit from?

Main sources:


5 thoughts on “European Labour Market Mobility

  1. This article shows the contradiction which exists in the European Union. Like it is said, the Schengen agreement and the European Union allow a working mobility for the workers in the signatory countries. But just a small part of the population enjoys this opportunity, maybe because they are afraid of changing country.

    For me it’s a chance to have the opportunity to live and work and in an other country. Today, more and more students have the possibility to study abroad, with the Eurasmus programme. And in my opinion, more workers need to take the chance of working in an other European country, and to have a chance to discover an other culture and other people.

    • I agree with moaa11. I also think that the European labour market mobility offers a lot of opportunities. I can imagine working and of living in another European country for some time. More and more companies have worldwide contacts and business offices around the world. Because of this development the demands of the staff are higher. Flexibility, mobility and deft handling with other cultures and languages are increasing characteristics that determine acceptance or rejection of an application. All in all I can say that there is no better way to learn new languages, meeting new people and broaden your horizon.

  2. Well, main part of the problem is, I think, is not the fact that there aren’t many opportunities, but that people don’t see or take the chance. There are plenty of possibilities when you want to work outside your country but they are usually only for higher educated people, not for lower schooled people. This way not a lot of people get offered a chance to work in another country. Another big part is of course, as mentioned in the article, the language and cultural barriers. But if we could increase flexibility and try to offer lower schooled employees a chance as well, the percentage of people working in another country could increase.

  3. I think that we have a problem. To work and travel freely is a beautiful thing in the EU. It is really strengths that 2% of the European citizens is working in another EU-member country. In my opinion, it is not working without promotion by the government. Or another possibility is that people are not interested in working in for example Spain. In many European countries, the economic situation is good. If the economic situation is good and a people has a job, why another country? Maybe this is the answer. I don’t no, but we have to research it.

  4. I agree with wiha11.
    Most of really interesting job offers which would justify to change of country are intended for higher educated people.
    The possibility of working abroad exists only since 1968, and the change of attitudes doesn’t evolve so quickly.

    Today more and more students specialize in international business, what means that they wish to work abroad. I think that we have to wait some years to exploit perfectly this opportunity.
    Besides, I am not sur of the importance of cultural or language barriers to go work abroad because as wiha11 said, these jobs are intended for higher educated people who consequently speak several languages and are able to adapt themselves.


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