European Migration

Fostering the free movement of people has been a European goal since the 1950s. So why is it only now that anti-immigrant parties are on the rise inside the European Union?

The World Today
1 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

These politicians argue that free movement was never meant to apply in a community so divided as it is now by disparities in wealth, where unprecedented numbers of migrants are being sucked from east to west and south to north in search of jobs.

In our cover story, James Hampshire argues that the free movement of people is too fundamental a principle for the EU to ditch. It is a useful safety valve – and politicians should admit that they have only marginal influence on intra-EU migration flows.

At the same time as Europeans are on the move, the instability on the wider region – from North Africa to Syria and Iraq, and on to Afghanistan – is driving growing numbers of desperate asylum seekers to take to leaking boats to cross the Mediterranean. Massimo Franco warns the northern countries that this is an issue that Italy cannot cope with alone.

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