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Free Movement: European Commission publishes study on integration of mobile EU citizens in six cities

February 12, 2014  | by Gülpen Garay

EU citizens go to other EU countries mainly for job opportunities and are on average younger and more likely to be working. This is confirmed by a new, independent study on the impact of the right to move freely within the EU which was published today. The study focuses on six European cities, chosen for the multinational composition of their population: Barcelona, Dublin, Hamburg, Lille, Prague and Turin. It shows that for all six cities the inflow of younger, working age EU citizens has had a positive economic impact. For example inTurin, a local evaluation shows that tax revenues from foreigners on the whole brought a net benefit of 1.5 billion € to national public finances. The study also shows that newcomers have helped fill gaps in local labour markets, contributed to growth in new sectors and have helped balance out ageing populations. It finds that mobile citizens are often overqualified for the jobs they take up, may be paid less and at the same time do not always benefit from the same access to housing and education.

Free movement is a benefit for Europe, its citizens and its economies. There can indeed be challenges in some cities which need to be addressed. It would, however, be the wrong response to question the right to free movement. I believe we need to work together – at European, national and local level – to turn challenges into opportunities. These examples from the cities of Barcelona, Dublin, Hamburg, Lille, Prague and Turin show that it can be done,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship when speaking at a mayors’ conference on free movement taking place today. “You can count on the Commission to continue assisting Member States in confronting any challenges linked to free movement. Today’s meeting with mayors will help local authorities from around Europe draw on the best examples of successful policies of integrating EU citizens into cities, to everyone’s benefit. I look forward to seeing such good practices being rolled out Europe-wide.”

The success of the integration programmes in place in the six cities is evidenced by the fact that attitudes towards mobility are gradually improving. All the cities examined are promoting an inclusive environment and a welcoming culture, through policies such as accessible information (one-stop shop information services for example); support for language learning; and intercultural dialogue and interaction among citizens.

Finally, the study identifies a series of best practices from the cities examined

Background

The study was presented at a meeting today with more than 100 mayors and representatives of local authorities from aroundEuropewho met to discuss current challenges and opportunities to do with the free movement of EU citizens in the European Union. The Conference of mayors is designed to help local authorities share best practices in implementing free movement rules and tackling social inclusion challenges. The meeting is one of five actions presented by the Commission to strengthen the right to free movement in the EU, while helping Member States to reap the positive benefits it brings.

The study analyses policies aimed at economic and social inclusion of EU mobile citizens, and at promoting a welcome culture and a positive attitude towards foreign nationals. It considered policies in the field of employment, entrepreneurship, housing, education, inter-cultural dialogue, attitudes towards migration and participation in city life.

Source: europa.eu

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