The European Commission has time and again promoted intra-EU labour mobility as a major contributor to the better functioning of European labour markets. On the other hand, concerns about increasing labour mobility are mounting in a number of member states and populist parties are trying to capitalise on these fears. So, is free movement of labour in Europe a problem or is it a solution in terms of contributing to better labour allocation?

Using empirical evidence, this Working Paper describes the main trends in post-enlargement east/west intra-EU labour mobility. It looks at how different population groups, nationals, EU8 and EU21 migrants have been affected by the turbulent processes of opening up national labour markets and subsequently by the crisis. The authors conclude with policy recommendations to minimise the negative side effects of cross-border labour mobility.

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