Engbersen, G., Leerkes, A., Scholten, P. and E. Snel (2017)
In: Migration Studies
This article analyses the contested nature of the contemporary intra-EU mobility regime after the EU enlargement of 2004 and 2007. Migration from the new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has evolved into one of the main migration flows within Europe, especially to Northern and Western European countries. We will analyse three dimensions of the contested nature of the intra-EU mobility regime. Firstly, we show that the current regime has contributed to a highly diverse and complex nature of contemporary labour migration. Research shows that CEE labour migrants engage in circular and temporary labour mobility, but also in mid-term and long-term settlement migration. This diversity challenges contemporary (local) integration policies. Secondly, we address forms of civic stratification, which has become an important dimension of social inequality in Europe. Civic stratification is the result of inequalities in de jure entitlements to social and economic rights or in de facto access to EU citizens’ rights. Thirdly, we deal with the contradictions between governance responses to intra-EU mobility at different levels of government. In particular, a paradigm conflict has emerged between the intra-EU ‘mobility’ frame, which defines free movement primarily as a neo-liberal, economic form of mobility by EU citizens to address temporary unbalances in European labour markets, and the local governance strategies driven by a more ‘settlement’ frame of intra-EU ‘migration’ which focuses on integration-related concerns.