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«A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham for the degree of Doctor of ...»

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Since the transmission of this proposal to the European Parliament in December 2002, however, it has not been processed through the decision-making system of the EU.52 This can be read as drawback of this Commission effort to promote its interpretation of what freedom of movement of EU nationals entails. However, the Commission has used other tools at its disposal to that end. In performance of the duties vested in it by the Founding Treaties it has for example undertaken infringement procedures against member states that do not comply with the legal requirements on this issue. In 1988 the Commission launched an action plan aimed at increasing the access to employment in some public sectors, such as teaching and public health care and has undertaken infringement procedures in the ECJ against Luxembourg, Belgium and Greece. 53 The ECJ ruled in favour of the Commission in all these cases. 54 Another way in which the Commission discourse has promoted the decreased salience of internal EU borders from the period prior to the SEA is the constant efforts towards establishing a system in the EU that will facilitate the recognition of professional 49 For more details see European Commission, Free Movement of Workers – Achieving the Full Benefits and Potential, COM (2002) 694 final, 11.12. 2002, pp. 17-24 50 Ibid., p. 18 51 Ibid., p. 19 (emphasis in the original) 52 http://ec.europa.eu/prelex/detail_dossier_real.cfm?CL=en&DosId=178951, accessed on 25.04.2009 53 European Commission, Free Movement of Workers – Achieving the Full Benefits and Potential, COM (2002) 694 final, 11.12. 2002, pp. 18-19 54 See European Court of Justice, Judgment of the Court, Case C-473/93, Commission v Luxembourg ECR [1996] I-3207, 02.07.1996; European Court of Justice, Judgement of the Court, Case C-173/94, Commission v Belgium ECR [1996] I-3265, 02.07.1996; European Court of Justice, Judgement of the Court, Case CCommission v Greece ECR [1996] I-3285; 02.07.1996 140 and vocational qualifications. On this question in the period after 1990s, in tune with the change in the discourse on social policy, one of the accents has been on life-long learning. 55 All of these measures are predominantly concerned with overcoming existing functional obstacles for free movement between the member states by alleviating legal and administrative barriers. This trend is further reinforced by the expansion of categories of EU nationals that are entitled to move within the Union. The inclusion of students, pensioners, and researchers who are EU citizens into the category of people that can exercise free movement has necessitated the Commission to reduce existing legal and administrative barriers to their movement in the Union as well. For example, the European Parliament and Council adopted a Commission proposal in April 2004. 56 It promotes the right of EU citizens to reside in another member state by reducing the administrative burden on EU citizens moving within its territory through arguing that the requirement for issuance of residence cards by the host member state should be restricted to cases where this is genuinely justified. Instead, the proposal only requires registration with the competent authorities of the member state for stays over six months. 57 Furthermore, the Commission has monitored the implementation of the Directives on the right of residence by member states and has undertaken measures to assure their compliance with the Directives‟ provisions where necessary. 58 The Green Paper on Education, Training and Research has aimed to launch a debate on the possible measures to overcome the range of legal and administrative obstacles, which still impede the free movement of people undergoing training, those engaged in transnational research and those working in training. 59 55 See for example European Commission, Proposal for a Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning, COM (2006) 479 final, 05.09.2006 56 http://ec.europa.eu/prelex/detail_dossier_real.cfm?CL=en&DosId=165821, accessed on 10.01.2009 57 European Commission, Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on the Right of Citizens of the Union and their Family Members to Move and Reside Freely within the Territory of the Member States, COM (2001) 257 final, 29.06.2001, Preamble, points 10 and 11 58 See European Commission, Report on the Implementation of Directives 90/364, 90/365 and 93/96 (Right of Residence), COM (99) 127 final, 17.03.1999 59 European Commission, Education – Training – Research. The Obstacles to Transnational Mobility, COM (96) 462 final, 2.10.1996 141 However, despite the extensive facilitation these can have for free movement, a number of Commission documents acknowledge that mobility within the Union is still relatively low. According to the 2005 Labour Force Survey, less than 2 per cent of EU citizens live and work in another member state – a proportion that has not changed significantly over the last thirty years. 60 This low mobility is very likely a sign that as far as movement of people is concerned, abolishing administrative, legal or physical barriers may not be enough for achieving the aims of a frontier-free area.61 Important dividers, such as identity borders are likely to continue to exist for much longer after the removal of other borders. In that respect a skeptical reading of “mobility” can pose the argument that even if achieved, it can in fact lead to greater appreciation of the existence of differences and therefore, borders. For example, if people regard a movement as crossing a border it can have the effect of solidifying the perception of persisting divisions. 62 However, some of the measures articulated by the Commission in the last 10-15 years show that it is aware of this danger. In response, some of its documents have advanced the proposal of complementary measures for promoting the free movement of people. These are aimed at tackling practical obstacles to mobility, such as the lack of information and language and cultural skills for free movement. These efforts have resulted in the establishment of a number of EU-wide programs and the launch of several databases in a variety of fields related to the free movement of people. For example, the European Commission has sought to promote the development of language and cultural skills (such 60 Cited in European Commission, Final Report on the Implementation of the Commission’s Action Plan for Skills and Mobility COM (2002) 72 final, COM (2007) 24 final, 25.01.2007, p. 3. For more data on the mobility within the EU see for example, European Commission, Mobility, an Instrument for More and Better Jobs: the European Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010), COM (2007) 773 final, 06.12.2007, pp. 3-4; European Commission, 2006 – European Year of Workers’ Mobility, the Importance of the Mobility of Workers to the Implementation of the Lisbon Strategy, MEMO/05/229, 30.06.2005; Vladimir Špidla, The European Year of Workers’ Mobility, SPEECH/06/248, 24.04.2006; Charlie McCreevy, Review of the Single Market, SPEECH/07/532, 14.07.2007 61 For an overview of the major obstacles to internal migration in the EU see Linda Hantrais, Social Policy in the European Union (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995), esp. pp. 176-181 62 A study that engages with this issue is Paul Kennedy, „The Construction of Trans-social European Networks and the Neutralisation of Borders: Skilled EU Migrants in Manchester – Reconsituting Social and National Belonging‟, Space and Polity, 12: 1 (2008), pp. 119-133. Its main finding, however, is contrary to this skeptical reading and is instead in tune with the de-bordering promoted by Commission documents. It shows that for skilled young professionals mobility within the EU has helped crossing not only territorial but also primordial cultural borders.





142 as knowledge of other EU member states‟ societies) by supporting student exchanges between Universities in the EU. The most prominent illustration of these efforts are the ERASMUS, LINGUA and SOCRATES programs, the latter two of which have as one of their activities language teaching. 63 Furthermore, the Commission has sought to promote language learning through putting a target of citizens in the EU learning at least two EU languages in order to be able to benefit from the occupational and personal opportunities offered by the single market.64 As far as the lack of information is concerned, one of the most important undertakings of the Commission has been the establishment of European Employment Services (EURES). The Commission launched it in September 2003. Its objective is to provide Europe-wide access to available jobs, thus contributing to improving information and transparency of job opportunities throughout the EU. EURES links together Public Employment Services of the member states with partners such as employers and trade unions. It also provides workers and employers with practical information on job mobility.

From 2006 it allowed all EU citizens to have direct access to all job vacancies published by the Employment Services of the member states. According to the Commission EURES has become one of the most visited Commission websites.65 Another development that facilitates free movement of people inside the Union is the adoption of EU-wide cards on several issues, such as the European Health Insurance Card and European level professional cards that allow for the vocational qualifications recognitions. 66 The articulations of Commission officials imply that it supports such measures. For example, on the issue of the European Heath Insurance Card Commissioner Špidla argued that: “The high acceptance of the European Health Insurance Card clearly shows that this EU-project gives added value to its citizens.” 67 Furthermore, he praised the 63 For brief overview of these programmes see European Commission, Education – Training – Research. The Obstacles to Transnational Mobility, COM (96) 462 final, 2.10.1996, p. 34 64 Ibid., p. 29 65 This brief overview of EURES is from European Commission, Final Report on the Implementation of the Commission’s Action Plan for Skills and Mobility COM (2002) 72 final, COM (2007) final, 25.01.2007, p. 8 66 One of the first professional cards introduced is the European Engineer‟s Card. For more information about this see Vladimir Špidla, The European Year of Workers’ Mobility, SPEECH/06/248, 24.04.2006, p. 4 67 Vladimir Špidla cited in European Commission, One Year on: the European Health Insurance Card has Made its Mark across the EU, IP/05/802, 28.06.2005 143 idea of the introduction of a European Engineer‟s Card: “Engineers do not just pave the way for technical progress; they can also be pioneers through good practices for promoting mobility.”68 All these measures clearly indicate the efforts made by the Commission in overcoming a variety of borders still existing for the free movement of EU citizens, and hence, show a trend towards the construction of a common European space. Time-wise the overwhelming majority of measures striving to overcome practical obstacles to mobility have started to emerge in Commission discourse later than the administrative and legal measures. While the former have been present since the first decades of European integration, the latter became much more pronounced during the period under consideration in this study – after the mid-1980. The advancement of measures that aim at overcoming practical obstacles to mobility are evidence for the comprehensive nature of the Commission understanding of the types of factors that hamper free movement of people.

Furthermore, this is an indication of the Commission‟s desire to achieve genuine freedom of movement, not only one contained in the provisions of legal and administrative requirements. Given the diversity of languages, cultures or practices within the Union, elimination of legal and administrative barriers to free movement is a necessary but not sufficient condition. If mobility is to be achieved, practical measures are unavoidably required once the administrative and legal framework has been transformed. Thus, Commission discourse can be regarded as contributing towards creating this area without internal borders for movement of people.

The focus on these practical obstacles to movement indicates that Commission discourse on this matter is not only concentrated on eliminating functional barriers. It is also becoming more concerned with establishing a common identity in the EU. This is evident from the following Commission articulations: “Transnational mobility … contributes to the development of „European citizenship‟ complementing existing citizenship, of the country of origin.”69 It is anticipated that with the increased freedom of movement: “should come a growing European consciousness instilled through greater 68 Vladimir Špidla, The European Year of Workers’ Mobility, SPEECH/06/248, 24.04.2006, p. 4 69 European Commission, Education – Training – Research. The Obstacles to Transnational Mobility, COM (96) 462 final, 2.10.1996, p. 1 144 awareness of others as a result of exposure to new cultures and societies. Mobility within the Community ought to contribute to the development of solidarity between all Europeans at all levels …”70 This is considered to be a fundamental condition for the emergence of a true “citizens‟ Europe” without which it is impossible to conceive of a European social area.71 Thus, in the field of free movement, Commission discourse constructs a common area through the elimination of functional borders by the adoption of a number of technical, legal and administrative measures. These, however, in recent years have been more and more accompanied by subtler measures that can eventually contribute substantially to the emergence of a common identity in the EU.



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