GE 2015: Free movement within the EU – what do the manifestos say, and what could this mean for EU citizens?

Dr Diego Acosta Arcarazo, Lecturer in European Law, Law School

Dr Diego Acosta Arcarazo, Lecturer in European Law, Law School

Considering the tone of the political rhetoric in the last few months, the positions of the main parties on the topic of free movement of EU citizens seem less salient that one would have expected.

EU citizens or ‘EU migrants’?

It is worth stating from the outset that when we discuss free movement of people inside the European Union (EU) we are not referring to migration from a legal point in view. Indeed, the term ‘EU migrants’ often used by the media may define a sociological reality (an individual crossing a border between two countries with the intention to reside in the host -country) but it is legally incorrect. EU citizens (the nationals of any of the 28 Member States) have an individual and fundamental right to move and reside anywhere in the EU provided that they are working or self-employed or, if not performing an economic activity, that they have sufficient resources and medical insurance. This freedom is exercised by both the approximately 2.3 million EU nationals residing in the UK, as well as by the circa 2 million British nationals who reside in the other 27 Member States.

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Is free movement in Europe an anomaly? The new open borders policy in South America

Dr Diego Acosta Arcarazo, Lecturer in European Law, Law School

Dr Diego Acosta Arcarazo, Lecturer in European Law, Law School

Free movement of people in the European Union (EU) is currently under attack by certain political and media sectors across Europe, with proposals arising on how to limit its scope. At the same time, other regions in the world are adopting free movement regimes. This is important to highlight as it allows us to demonstrate that the EU’s free movement regime is not an anomaly as its opponents often argue. It also enables us to compare how different regions function in this area which can lead to ideas and proposals for refining legislation and policies. As such, current debates on the construction of a South American citizenship as well as the MERCOSUR Residence Agreement, effectively establishing an open border area in the region, deserve our attention in Europe.

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