Press releases of Europa-Universität Flensburg (EUF)

Emigration and the State: What Effects does Mass Emigration Have on Statehood?

International conference at Europa-Universität Flensburg on the impact of labor emigration on countries of origin in and outside the EU

From February 7-9, 2024, an international conference at Europa-Universität Flensburg will address how states and societies in migrants' countries of origin deal with mass emigration. The issue is the subject of a joint research project by Europa-Universität Flensburg (EUF) and the University of Bremen. In the DFG project "Paradoxien der EU-Freizügigkeit. Präferenzbildungsprozesse für und gegen Europäische Integration" ["Paradoxes of EU Freedom of Movement: Processes of Preference Formation For and Against European Integration"], Christof Roos, Professor of European and Global Governance at EUF, and Dr. Martin Seeliger, a research associate at the Institute for Labor and Economics in Bremen, investigate how migration affects the mostly Southern and Eastern European countries of origin from 2021 to 2024. The project fills a research gap, as the impacts of EU freedom of movement on EU countries of origin remain largely unexplored.

The three-day final conference of the project aims to systematically understand the effects of emigration on the state. It brings together the latest empirical research findings on emigration using five different analytical-theoretical approaches.

Freedom of Movement and EU migration

The contributions to this panel deal with the core principle of the free movement of persons and pose the following questions, among others: How does the practice of the free movement of persons contribute to the balance in the internal market? What influence does it have on public opinion on EU membership? How do the liberal principles of the free movement of persons undermine or change the notions of community, state and nation within and outside the EU? How do countries in the EU's neighborhood view the free movement of persons and emigration?

Politicization of Emigration

The contributions to this panel examine whether and how emigration is politicized along various lines of conflict (capital and labor, liberal and conservative currents, community and individual) in emigration societies. Key questions include: Is there a link between emigration and electoral participation? Which actors are driving the politicization of the emigration issue? How is the topic of emigration discussed in national political debates?

Emigration and the Welfare State

Limited economic advancement opportunities are an important motive for emigration. This also means that the welfare state and social security institutions, such as unemployment insurance or training opportunities, can determine the decision to migrate. Accordingly, this panel discusses questions such as: What is the relationship between the institutions of the welfare state and emigration or return migration? How do governments justify changes to the welfare state in connection with emigration? In comparative terms, which measures have an effect and which do not?

Emigration and the Economy

The contributions of this panel address how national growth strategies and freedom of movement interact with each other. How is the regulation of the national labor market in destination countries driven by production interests (e.g., companies and business associations, trade unions) or voting preferences? What exactly determines the political positions of those actors who, with their growth strategies (e.g., low wages), provide incentives for migration?

Emigration and the Voice of Emigrants

Emigrants connect their destination country with their countries of origin in many ways, far beyond money transfers. This is particularly true in the EU, as it is seen as a migration space. Paradoxically, despite EU integration, the concept of nationality and ethnic belonging of EU migrants has become stronger rather than weaker as a result of their EU mobility. What value do emigrant relationships have for governments, political parties, and political power in general? How do relationships between governments and emigrants change when the latter do not return to their countries of origin? Do governments address their national diaspora in other EU countries with their policies, and if so, what are their main motives?

The Conference

The conference is organized by Prof. Dr. Christof Roos (Europa-Universität Flensburg), Dr. Anna Kyriazi (University of Milan), and Dr. Martin Seeliger (University of Bremen, Institute for Work and Economics).

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