Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: Since the beginning of European integration, free movement of workers and of persons has been one of the fundamental freedoms of the EC/EU. At the same time, the lack of internal mobility on the European labour market is often quoted as one of the flaws that impede a good functioning of the EU Internal Market and the Economic and Monetary Union. In the context of Europe's enlargement, mobility from (future) new Member States has been a fairly important feature on Europe's labour market. Young people are usually the ones who are most likely to take risks and to move abroad.

In addition, for over 25 years the EU has actively promoted mobility of its students, researchers and citizens: students from the EU and the associated countries initially and gradually many other groups of young people have participated in a mobility scheme. Likewise, bilateral exchanges, cross-border internships and regional cooperation have become more regular - at an organised institutional level, but also upon purely individual initiative.

As currently job opportunities for young people are very bleak in some countries, the European internal market may offer better perspectives in other countries – sometimes not very distant from their own. This has the potential for realising a more integrated and better functioning European labour market. However, while some may gladly move or seek a job abroad – in Europe or beyond – others may be forced to migrate. This may be disruptive for families, countries and European societies. At the same time, intra-European migration might not only alleviate regional shocks, but it could conversely intensify regional crises and economic downturn.

Scope: The research should look into different patterns and types of mobility of young people within the EU according to their purpose, length of stay, motivation, as well as characteristics of people moving abroad or moving to Europe, including differences between men and women as well as people with different types of impairment or of different geographical and socio-economic backgrounds. It should analyse their selection and recruitment processes, the role of information and support services, as well as more problematic issues abroad and/or at home regarding language, integration, finding a settlement, organisation of a new life, etc.

The research should also analyse the skills acquisition and recognition (formal and informal), longer-term social and employment impacts such as career tracks, bonding, settlement, welfare effects. Research should also address the psychological perspective including European identity formation and impact of mobility and involuntary migration on mental health. Research should focus on the conditions under which European mobility and migration reduces or aggravates regional labour market disparities, including brain drain issues. Comparisons with past mobility experiences or the impact of solidarity networks within and among Member States could also be very interesting in terms of policies as well as individual experiences.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1.5 and 2.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:  Research is expected to provide a comprehensive analysis of the circumstances accompanying mobility of young people in Europe. Through a better understanding of the mechanisms driving this phenomenon, research will contribute to policy development regarding interventions to facilitate and improve mobility and integration across Europe. The research output will further assist regions facing emigration of young workers to cope with these challenges. These activities will also contribute to formulating recommendations for flanking policies to tackle barriers and obstacles to short-term mobility and longer-term integration.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions

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