More than a decade after EU eastern enlargement, some eastern Member States are still grappling with the consequences of large-scale emigration for their communities, economies, and societies. Emigration may come with certain advantages: it can relieve pressure in situations of high unemployment, generate remittances, and allow mobile EU citizens to pursue better job opportunities and living conditions. In the long run, however, brain drain, demographic decline, and eroding tax bases can put a massive strain on countries of emigration, and may even trigger a downward spiral that ultimately stands in the way of EU convergence.
Amid ongoing debates about the costs and benefits of free movement, this Migration Policy Institute Europe webinar examines evidence from the EU-funded REMINDER (Role of European Mobility and Its Impacts in Narratives, Debates and EU Reform) project on different types of East-West mobility. Among the topics of discussion: mobility of care workers, short-term cross-border movement in frontier regions, and return migration to countries of origin—and their impact on sending countries’ communities and societies. Speakers--MPI's Meghan Benton and Liam Patuzzi, Bernhard Perchinig of International Centre for Migration Policy Development, and Marcin Wiatrów from the Polish Ministry of Family, Labour, and Social Policy--examine big-picture trends of East-West migration; consider possible policy responses at regional, national, and EU levels to alleviate some of the challenges; and reflect on realistic actions that could be taken under a new European Commission.