Migration and freedom of movement

Freedom of movement allows EU citizens to live, work and, in some circumstances, access public services and welfare benefits in another member state. Its advocates regard it as a cornerstone of the single market.

The provision has, however, acquired a higher profile following the EU’s expansion eastwards, thereby incorporating a number of relatively poor countries. People from those countries have been able to seek better paid employment in more affluent parts of the Union, potentially creating an adverse reaction in the receiving communities. Meanwhile the EU has recently been experiencing a large flow of refugees from troubled parts of the Middle East and Africa.

This section includes questions on people’s attitudes towards the level and desirability of within EU migration, whether they support or oppose the freedom of movement provisions (and whether the UK should still apply them when it leaves the EU), their perceptions of the impact of EU migration on the economy and public services, and their views on what access EU citizens should have to welfare and public services. It also covers attitudes towards how the EU as a whole should handle refugee and migrant flows from outside the Union.

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The two poles of the referendum debate: immigration and the economy

28 January 2016

What are the issues that matter most to voters in the EU referendum? This paper addresses this question by looking at what, according to recent polls, appear to be the issues that most divide those who wish to Leave and those who would prefer to Remain.

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