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The Divisiveness of Mobility: Fuelling Populism in the Euro and Schengen Areas

SWP Comment 2012/C 21, 06.07.2012, 8 Pages Research Areas

For years, politicians placed individuals' mobility at the heart of the EU's popularity. Projects such as the Schengen and Euro areas reduced obstacles to free movement, thereby creating greater employment chances as well as more choice and means of exchange for citizens. But not all citizens can or want to move. An immobile sub-section of the population has long worried that it bears the brunt of low-paid immigrant labour. Now, it increasingly worries too that more mobile elites will emigrate and abandon it to face national economic decline and debt liabilities alone. If governments are to convince their publics of the need for painful reforms to shore up the Euro and Schengen areas, they must ensure that all sections of society feel the benefits of mobility.