Pioneers of Europe's Integration "from below": Mobility and the emergence of European Identity among National and Foreign Citizens in the EU.

Fifth Framework Programme


A rising number of EU policies is based on the assumption that an increase in the mobility of persons between member States will improve productivity, reduce unemployment, make skills more accessible across borders, and speed up the European integration process. However, mobility remains extremely low: currently, only 1.5% of EU citizens live in a country other than their motherland. Moreover, the bulk of them originates from post-war labour and family reunion migration and hence are very different from recent movers, that represent instead our research focus. The project investigates: 1) the conditions and motives of internal mobility within the EU, 2) the effects of internal mobility on the quality of life and individual prospects of movers, 3) the impact of internal and external (in particular, from accession countries) mobility on attitudes towards EU institutions and European identification. The overarching research goal is to answer the following question:

Additionally, the project intends to find empirically based answers to the following issues:

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Brief Description of the Project

In operational terms, we will proceed by distinguishing three sets of EU residents that constitute our objects of analysis:

Initially, each of these three sets of individuals will be investigated separately: "stayers" through secondary analysis of existing datasets; "internal movers" through a qualitative ethnographic study and a quantitative survey; "external movers" through qualitative and content analysis of targeted focus groups. Subsequently, we will proceed to inter-group comparative analysis (in particular, between stayers and internal movers, and between internal and external movers). These analyses aim at finding out the impact of differing mobility experiences on European identity and personal well being.

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Expected Results

To address the questions of this project is a way to gauge the real incentives and constraints to individuals' mobility, the impact of mobility on the emergence of the European identity, and its practical consequences on individuals and families from different national societies. Through the quantitative and qualitative study of comparable samples of "internal movers", and by highlighting their specificity vis-Ó-vis "stayers" on the one hand and "external movers" from non-EU European countries on the other, the project will identify the individual and contextual characteristics necessary as a precondition for internal mobility within the European Union.

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Network and national coordinators

Project coordinator: Ettore Recchi (CIUSPO, UniversitÓ di Firenze)

Free research advisor: Adrian Favell (UCLA, Los Angeles)

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