Lately the free movement of eastern European workers within the EU has been questioned. Fearing excessive use of their own welfare systems, governments have argued for continued access restrictions. This report presents research showing that eastern European migrants have been net contributors to public finances of the richer EU15 nations that received them.
In 2004 when the EU expanded from 15 to 25 member countries, all EU15 countries except Sweden made use of the possibility to temporarily restrict the new EU citizens’ access to their labour markets and welfare systems for up to seven years. Several governments have recently called on the European Commission to strengthen rules to protect the welfare states against being abused by migrants. However the Commission has answered that no evidence has been presented that indicates that widespread abuse is indeed happening. In fact, existing research tells an even more positive story. Not only is there no evidence of widespread abuse of welfare systems by eastern European migrants – if anything, public finances in the richer EU15 countries appear to have gained from their eastern European post-enlargement immigration, also when no access restrictions have been in place.
Read more here about the research result published by Joakim Ruist of the University of Gothenburg.