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Mapping mobility – pathways, institutions and structural effects of youth mobility in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MOVE (Mapping mobility – pathways, institutions and structural effects of youth mobility in Europe)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-04-30

The overall ambition of MOVE is to provide a research-informed contribution towards improving the conditions of the mobility of young people in Europe and a reduction of the negative impacts of mobility through the identification of ways of good practice thus fostering sustainable development and wellbeing.

The main research question is: How can the mobility of young people be ‘good’ both for socio-economic development and for individual development of young people, and what are the factors that foster/hinder such beneficial mobility?
Based on an interdisciplinary and multilevel research approach the main objectives of MOVE are to:
[1] carry out a comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon of mobility of young people in the EU;
[2] generate systematic data about young people’s mobility patterns in Europe based on case studies, a mobility survey and on secondary data analysis;
[3] provide a quantitative integrated database on European youth mobility;
[4] offer a data based theoretical framework in which mobility can be reflected, thus contributing to the scientific and political debates;
[5] explore factors that foster and factors that hinder good practice based on an integrative approach with qualitative and quantitative evidence;
[6] provide evidence-based knowledge and recommendations for policy makers through the development of good-practice models to
a. make research-informed recommendations for interventions to facilitate and improve the institutional, legal and programmatic frames of mobility with regard to different forms and types of mobility as well as to the conditions / constrains of mobility for young people in Europe
b. give consultation and expertise to those countries facing significant challenges related to geographical mobility of young workers.

MOVE relates to the Call “The young Generation in an Innovative, Inclusive and Sustainable Europe” in the work programme 2014–2015, “Societal challenges – Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies”, addressing the topic Young-2-2014: “Youth mobility: opportunities, impacts, policies”.
Precisely, the MOVE consortium refers to cross-border mobility as an ever-growing issue of the European integration. Even more, since the creation of the Single European Market and the warranty of freedom of movement (for workers) as one of the “Four Freedoms” of the European Union (EU), the mobility of EU citizens is at the heart of the European project, stimulating broad and longstanding programmes and research all over the continent. EU-Policies have promoted free movement in the EU to improve the functioning of the labour markets through the balancing of skill needs, labour market shortages, and unemployment. With the recent financial and economic crisis this need has increased: The economic downfall has led to a situation with high unemployment rates of young people in some countries. In other countries there is a manpower shortage in some areas requiring specific qualifications. At the same time the lack of internal mobility on the European labour market still persists.

The Europe 2020 strategy sees the young generation as a driving force for smart, sustainable and economic growth because young people are most likely to take the risk to move abroad for educational or work-related reasons and to contribute to social and economic development with innovative business strategies. However, in view of the large number of young unemployed people in Europa some call the 16-29 years old the ‚lost generation‘, shut out from productive activity. Especially, young people are therefore addressed by intra-EU mobility programmes.
The merits and impacts of the freedom of mobility in the EU are intensively discussed on the political agenda: On the one hand the right to work, live and retire in another EU Member State can have numerous social, cultural and economic benefits. On the other hand, the economic crisis in Europe and the
During the first twelve months of the project, the MOVE partners have taken relevant steps towards those objectives. At the Kick-Off-Meeting, the most important ones have been discussed personally and a concrete framework for the work in the project has been set out in theoretical exchange groups. As a basis for the interviews and data collections, the partners have collected the ethical approval of the respective institutions.
In order to reach their first objective, the partners have also collected and assessed existing quantitative data sets on a national and European level. They used different channels to acquire the respective data, as well as networks provided by their national NEC members. As a basis for objective 3, a data management plan has been elaborated for those work packages that require it. All partners conducted first explorative pre-test interviews and numerous further interviews on a national level for WP 3 (more than 100 altogether), which led to first insights into the various types of youth mobility in each partner country, which is a first step towards goal 5, for which the survey has been developed. However, several important aspects have already been discovered that were so far not of major interest in mobility research in young people. The online survey is near to go online.
To give MOVE a coherent theoretical Framework, a theoretical discussion group has been established to further develop this framework and to connect it with the empirical research. Theoretically, the consortium partners worked on the concept of agency in migration and mobility research.
We implemented our dissemination strategy that includes contacts to national experts and international networks for counselling and information for young people. We strengthened contacts within scientific networks in regard of migration and mobility.
We presented our work on several international conferences, within stakeholder networks and made it visible through our homepage, Facebook and twitter.
An external project website has been created ( To ensure a smooth workflow and a timely realisation of the tasks, the coordinator and the management team have set up clear guidelines and a project internal online management tool to facilitate and enhance the cooperation in the consortium. In April, the plan for the dissemination and exploitation has been updated.
[1] The research is expected to provide a comprehensive analysis of the circumstances accompanying mobility of young people in Europe:
With the focus on the patterns of mobility and the reconstruction of them within different national, legal and organisational contexts and from a comparative perspective MOVE will provide deep insights to better understand youth mobility. One of the added-values both on a European and national level is the focus on the agency of young people within these circumstances.
[2] With the multilevel research approach, MOVE will bring together existing but still dispersed data and produce own quantitative and qualitative data that will contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms driving this phenomenon. The quantitative survey with its comprehensive sample of young mobile and non-mobile people will deliver deep insights into the mobility patterns in relation to the six participating countries, the circumstances of mobility and migration and the connection between different forms of mobility during life course and their relationship. The qualitative case studies will provide explanations and insights into specific contexts of mobility from both, the perspective of the young people and the stakeholders and organisations framing the mobility of the young people.
[3] With the transdisciplinary approach, the results will contribute to policy development regarding interventions to facilitate and improve mobility across Europe by identifying helpful and hindering factors both from the perspectives of the young people themselves and the organisations and stakeholders involved or interested in the mobility of the young people. Based on the integrated results of our research we will identify examples of good practice.
[4] The research output will further assist regions facing emigration of young workers to cope with these challenges by giving recommendations how specific incentives and structural support can make it interesting to come back after a period abroad e.g. to build up the own business or fund an enterprise thus creating spin-off effects in the regions. Especially, the results from the case studies on mobile students (university and vocational training), mobility for employment and on entrepreneurship and the survey results will give a broad and deep overview of how and under which conditions the young people invest into their regions e.g. through remittances. The data analysis of MOVE will thus provide expertise of supportive and hindering factors for young people, their rootedness in their countries of origin and the socio-economic impact resulting from geographical mobility of young people.
[5] These activities will also contribute to formulating recommendations for flanking policies to tackle barriers and obstacles of short-term mobility and longer-term integration. Here, the perspective on agency is especially helpful because it enables us to look at individuals within given circumstances including the perspectives on the past, the present and the future. We can thus see how the young people themselves achieve agency under difficult conditions (or not), taking into consideration dimensions of social inequality such as gender, socio-economic and migration background, and disabilities. Based on these insights we can give recommendations how policy could frame mobility to support the young people in achieving agency.
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