Identify and explain the methods adopted by states to address the issue of poverty in society. Refer to contemporary examples to support your answer
Free Movement of People in Europe and Further Afield
Currently, European Union citizens can easily live and work in any section of the European Union’s twenty eight member states within the three non-EU countries in the European Economic Area as well as Switzerland. According to Europeans, freedom of movement is the biggest bloc achievement. The ideology is based on findings generated from previous researches with a good number rating them above peace, student exchanges as well as single currency. The paper seeks to identify the relevant and main arguments in support of, and against the free movement of people both in Europe and further afield using empirical examples.
With regards to the arguments in support of free movement, the principle is considered controversial. During Britain’s Brexit referendum campaign, the issue of free movement was a key subject and is currently a critical segment of the Brexit negotiations. Leaders within the EU are categorical that the freedom of European Union citizens to migrate to Britain is not negotiable if the UK wishes to retain access to the current single market (Favell, 2015). Freedom of movement is of a great importance because it is categorized among the four basic freedoms within the single market, others being free movement of goods, services as well as capital.
The freedom were enshrined back in 1957within the Treaty of Rome. This led to the establishment of the European Union’s predecessor, the European Economic Community (EEC). The freedom of movement was initiated as a strategy to encourage diverse populations to travel and fill up the available job opportunities after the Second World War. The concept here was that a highly mobile workforce could possibly raise the economies of the 6 European Union’s founding members. Perhaps, this could as well discourage future conflict steered on the continent (Favell, 2011).
Almost sixty years down the line, the free movement system allows all citizens within the European Union to study, travel, work and retire in any region within the Union- including Norway, Liechtenstein as well as Iceland. The three aforementioned joined the European Economic Area (EEA) and are managed by the four freedoms. Switzerland equally exhibits a bilateral deal with the European Union, especially during the border controls. Moreover, the free movement campaign enables all workers to migrate from states with scarce job opportunities to regions with limited labor supply (Castles, 2013). In the past years, laborers from the Southern European countries, which had been negatively affected by the Eurozone crisis, have for a long time headed to find employment.
However, particular arguments work against the policy of free movement. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates, free movement has entirely reduced the average employment rate within Europe by approximately 6%. It is becoming increasingly disadvantageous as the working age population within Europe will continually shrinks to about 12% by 2030. It is thus anticipated that it will result into labor and skills shortages that will possibly place a strain on the economic growth rate of European Union (Wunderlich, 2013).
According to the European Commission, extending the free movement rights to Eastern Europe between 2004 and 2007 improved the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the previous member states by approximately one percent. However, not all nations are feeling the benefits. Although the settlers within the Eastern European states have made major contributions to the wealth status of other European Union states, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) still highpoints that their departure after the fall of Communism has potentially held back economic growth and affected the rise of living standards within their home states (Favell, 2011).
In the past twenty five years, approximately twenty million young and skilled workers have allowed the Eastern Europe to look for better opportunities abroad. Liberal economics enhance freer trade unions and general globalization (Castles, 2013). However, the serious doubts that European Union is a tenable and desirable free movement originates from the fact that the freedom is selective, and not a universal right. Some people still face harsh restrictions as the policy does not apply to Australians, Jamaicans, Americans as well as the Indians.
The whole issue is controversial. Particular countries like Britain show great concerns regarding the European Union migrations, particularly from the resource constrained Eastern European Nations (Favell, 2015). In a certain 2014 referendum, Switzerland advocated for migration controls, which upon imposing, could make the state lose access to the single markets. Basing on the statistics from the Migration Observatory at University of Oxford, over three million non-British European Union citizens live within the United Kingdom since 2004 after the first Eastern European states became members of European Union.
Although the European Union migrants are net contributors to the public finances within their destination countries, politicians still point out that the right to free movement inspires “welfare tourism” (Favell, 2011). The strategy, however, puts much pressure on available public services which makes it harder for the local populace to find work. Under practice, European Union citizens who have for a long time been living in other member countries for less than 5 years have limited access to the available welfare services and systems within their states of residence.
The benefits that most residents are, therefore, entitled to are dependent on the employment status as well as the rules and regulations of the state they are living in. According to a Euro-barometer survey, it was clear that ten percent of the total population within the European Union had already lived and worked in a different member state by 2010 (Castles, 2013). Moreover, seventeen percent claimed to have previously planned to relocate to somewhere else within the European Union.
There are limited arguments behind the liberal principle of free EU movement since it contains debatable economics and conclusively hostile politics. The argument is tactical as it also encompasses the greater economic advantages of the single market. The benefits are factual, and this is reason enough for the government to prioritize a shared regulation and an easy access to single markets (Favell, 2015). Even though, it might still be hard to reconcile with movement restrictions.
In conclusion, relevant arguments have been proposed in support of, and against, the free movement of people both in Europe and further afield. This policy has created better chances for people to move, work and live across the globe. The strategy has explicit advantages on the economic status of the EU member states. However, further arguments have also been put forward regarding the effects of free movement policy and how it suppresses the economic status of the mother inhabitants. Article 50 and Brexit loom outlines that taking control of the policy should begin with controlling immigrations and putting an end to the free movement within the European Union.
Castles, S. (2013). The forces driving global migration. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 34(2), 122-140.
Favell, A. (2011). Eurostars and Eurocities: Free movement and mobility in an integrating Europe (Vol. 56). John Wiley & Sons.
Favell, A. (2015). Immigration, Integration and Mobility. Ecpr Press.
Wunderlich, D. (2013). Differentiation and policy convergence against long odds: Lessons from implementing EU migration policy in Morocco. In The Challenge of Differentiation in Euro-Mediterranean Relations (pp. 124-147). Routledge.