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FREE MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE HAS A FUNDAMENTAL IMPACT ON DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS
THE FREE MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE HAS A FUNDAMENTAL IMPACT ON DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS. WHICH IS THE IMPACT OF THIS TREND FOR THE CASE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION?
In this essay is going to be discussed the free movement of people in the European Union system, and the most important impacts it causes in the different states of the European Union and also it´s consequences in the immediate, medium and long terms. Also how the European Union strategies solutions for the problems that cause the immigration.
The human migration is the movement of people from one geographical area to another. It can be voluntary or involuntary, like the slavery trade or displaced people.
There are mainly three factors of the labour force migration, macroeconomic factors, microeconomic factors and others that don’t have much relation with the economics.
The macroeconomic factors include the economic situation, for example, if one country gives more opportunities to have a better lifestyle, giving you the possibility to gain more money, like the Mexican people who travel to the U.S. in search of the American dream. The social situation, for example, in times of war is more likely to people migrate trying to be safety. The labor market situation, in this situation, people migrate in search of work, because the country where they live doesn’t give them the chance to work. And the institutional restriction situation, for example the situation of U.S. with Mexico.
In the microeconomic factors there is age, young people are more susceptible to migrate than old people. Gender is also another factor of the microeconomics along with family; when there’s a family well constitute, is less likely to all the family migrate or that one member leave the rest. Also the educational level, the incomes and the transactions costs; professional people are less likely to migrate as well as people who have good incomes or have any property on their own country, and if there is more expensive life in other country it will also stop the migration.
In the non economic factors we have culture, the language, religion and political situation.
Fig. 1. Factors of labour force migration
Source: FREE MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE: BRAIN EXCHANGE OR BRAIN DRAIN FOR NEW EU MEMBERS?. Matiušaitytė, R., & Čiegis, R. (2007)
The free movement of people is one of the principle pillars of the European Union. The right of every European citizen to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, adopted in December 2000 (The Treaty establishing European Community, 1957). The European Union is an international organization, created to motivate the integration within the countries members, composed by twenty seven European states. This economic union started in 1993 with the Maastricht Treaty.
The European Union is one of the most advance forms of integration, it´s an economic union, and in this level the states should have: Monetary and fiscal policies between members harmonized as well as the use of a common currency. In other words an economic union is a trade bloc, composed of a common market and with a customs union. The states that participate in an economic union have common policies on trade regulations, freedom of movement of goods, factors of production, such as capital and labour, and services; they also have a common external trade policy.
The European Union has its origins in other organizations and treaties like the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC). The EU operates through some organizations like the European Commission, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the European Parliament among others.
As said before free movement of people, free migration, is one of the principle pillars of the European Union as an economic union, and this free migration had some evolution trough time, since the foundation of the European Community in 1957 to nowadays with the Treaty of Nice in 2003.
In 1957, in the foundation of the European Community, the migration of people was introduced but only as an economic angle, allowing only salaried people to move free through borders, extended this right then to self-employed people and services providers. It has to be taken in account that the right of free movement was also extended to the families of the workers that have to move through the states. Then in 1990 the free movement of people was also granted to retired people, students and inactive people. In 1992 with the signature of the Maastricht Treaty it was concede to the citizens of the states of the European Community a special citizenship of the European Union, giving them the right to move and reside free in the EU territory “Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall complement and not replace national citizenship" (Treaty establishing the European Community, 1957). And in 1999 with the Amsterdam treaty it was introduced the Schengen visa, that apply in almost all the countries of the European Union and reinforced the right to free movement within the twenty seven countries and others that have special treaties with the EU like Ireland. The only problem so far was that if it was going to be a stay up of three months it was needed a residence card, that even it was easy obtained for an EU citizen, it was equally an obstacle in the free movement of people. Then in 2003, with the treaty of Nice, it was facilitated the free migration by abolishing the need of the residence card for the EU citizens, giving them a permanent right of residence, asking for no special formalities in order to enter a EU country.
Even though the free movement of people is a very attractive subject in European Union and in the International Relations, it may leads to some conflicts between the states such as security, political and cultural problems among others problems. “There are positive and negative impacts of immigration. Positive impacts like brain gain increase of national income, gain of cheap labour force that is lacking in the country. Negative impacts like displace of local labour force, reduction of wage level, increasing unemployment rate, social and ethnical conflicts. Increase of wage levels and decrease of unemployment rate are the positive impacts of emigration. As negative impacts of labour force emigration can be mentioned brain drain, deceleration of national incomes' growth and lack of labour force" (RĂVAŞ, O., 2009).
In the security theme the main problem is that in the absence of borders between the states the illegal activities could grow and illegal groups could freely move within the different territories making it more difficult to fight against.
Still the European Union take some series of measures that try to compensate the internal lack of borders by some reinforcement in the external frontiers security. Also after the Amsterdam Treaty, with the Schengen community, it was improve the coordination and the cooperation between the police and the judicial authorities between member states in order to fight against criminal activities, illegal immigration and drug traffic, among others.
It was also created the Schengen Information System (SIS), which is a complex database that facilitates the exchange of information between the judicial and consular authorities of each and every member sate.
It also exist the brain drain problem that consist in the migration of technical skilled people in search of better opportunities or because political instability or better living conditions.
Also the brain drains can have some individual reasons such as personal preferences or family in other state. Address this problem the only solutions can be the promotion of the employment and education of each of the country, so people don’t have the necessity of search better opportunities for themselves. This could be also one way to transform the negative situation, brain drains, into a positive one, brain gains, for the host country.
But if conditions in a country are better than in others, it could lead into other problems such the unemployment. And because of this the European Union has some significant exceptions to freedom of movement for workers, “Article 39(c) of the EC Treaty allows Member States to limit freedom of movement on the basis of public policy, public security or public health. Article 39(4) of the EC Treaty provides the second major exception to freedom of movement for workers, stating that the provisions of Article 39 "shall not apply to employment in the public service. The ECJ held that this provision exempts: posts which involve direct or indirect participation in the exercise of powers conferred by public law and duties designed to safeguard the general interests of the state or of other public authorities. Such posts in fact presume on the part of those occupying then the existence of a special relationship of allegiance to the state and reciprocity of rights and duties which form the foundation of the bond of nationality" (Matiušaitytė, R., & Čiegis, R., 2007). In the European Union there are countries such Germany, France and Italy that are having this specific problem, people think that in this countries the employment situation has some kind of advantage and migrate towards them in search of employment and this leads that the rates of unemployment in this countries grow, the wages get lower and the real citizens get unemployed.
Other problem that the free movement of people has is the cultural mixture that has been created, people with different cultures, different ideologies, makes it difficult to coexist “The concept of citizenship reflects a politically or culturally-based bond, often deeply felt, between a political entity and an individual, and between individuals who share common citizenship. It can be a powerful force encouraging loyalty and a sense of belonging among those who enjoy its benefits" (Matiušaitytė, R., & Čiegis, R., 2007); but with the free movement of people this loyalty and felt of belonging could be lost, making difficult for the people identify their identity, enclosing this a deeper problem in the construction of the being, creating more obstacle for the discover of the self, and bigger problems to resolve it on each of the sates. In the future there will be people that only recognize themselves as European citizens leaving all their culture and ideology behind.
Finally the European Union for the world represents a dual system while EU nationals can easily travel from Member State to Member States, Europe as a whole is tightly sealed off from the rest of the world, making it more difficult for people and goods to move between the EU and third countries. For this reason, the EU is occasionally referred to as "Fortress Europe."(Shimmel, N., 2006).
With all of this we can conclude that just as everything, migration has some positive and negative repercussions that should be taken into account, but so far the European Union and the regulation entities have done a good job controlling the main issues of the problem or at least the ones that affect the countries more immediate. Also from now we can see the futuristic total union of all the European states more or less like the one in the United States of America.
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