Demographic, Societal, and Economic Consequences of East-West Migration in Europe (EUMIG)

Research question/goal: 

Migration from Eastern to Western Europe is an ongoing mass phenomenon. With about 10 million individuals having moved in that direction over the last 20 years, more than from any other region of the world, roughly 10% of the total Central and Eastern European population currently lives in Western Europe (c.f. Auer & Schaub, 2021, The Political Consequences of Mass Emigration). On the one hand, this development should be considered positive, as it helps to mitigate differences in standards of living, reduces imbalances on the labour market, and thus increases the social welfare of EU member countries. On the other hand, this mass migration may cause certain issues and problems in both sending and receiving countries. Examples include the integration of the many newcomers in Western European states and brain drain, labour shortage, political radicalization, and the ascension of nationalistic and authoritarian parties in the Eastern ones.

However, overshadowed by the back-to-back crises during the last years (world financial crisis, Euro crisis, refugee crisis, Corona crisis), little attention has been paid to this issue, neither in public debates nor by researchers or in the media. In consequence, we do not know much about the extent of this phenomenon, nor about some of the possible political, social, and economic risks and opportunities that may arise from it. This makes it difficult for policymakers to design and implement forward-looking and sustainable measures and rules to optimize the benefits of this type of migration and simultaneously address its negative side effects.

In this project, we aim to thoroughly examine East-West migration in Europe to provide comprehensive and detailed information about the phenomenon, its potential, and the associated risks and issues in the main countries involved. Furthermore, we want to develop concrete policy recommendations and best practice examples to help decision-makers deal with this topic effectively. In doing so, we will address all major aspects of societal change: the demographic, the political, and the economic dimension.

Current stage: 

EUMIG brings together scholars and practitioners from different European countries to provide cutting-edge experimental and quasi-experimental research on the implications of inner-European East-West migration and to translate these findings into timely policy recommendations. To this end, the consortium has gathered 19 experts in the field from 11 countries, who are currently working on a proposal for the European Commission’s Horizon Europe call HORIZON-CL2-2022-TRANSFORMATIONS-01-02.

Fact sheet

2021 to 2022
Data Sources: 
Experimental survey data, registry data, administrative aggregate data
Geographic Space: