Home is always best, even within the EU

With the European Union approaching its 50th birthday, it is time for assessments. Institutional integration has come a long way, but success is a lot more mixed at an individual level.

by IESE Insight

According to a Eurobarometer poll, EU nationals are reluctant to move from their own region, and particularly to cross borders. A third of Europeans have moved from their native regions at least once, and of these, 25% have found work in their country of origin. Only 4% found work in another EU country, and 3% in a country outside the EU.

For a union so keen to promote the free movement of people and goods, the figures are damning. The main obstacle is cultural. The EU is made of 25 different countries, all with distinct cultures and languages. Nearly half of Europeans consider themselves incapable of holding a conversation in a foreign language, let alone finding work.

Adapting to a new environment and dealing with the usual separation from family or spouse has also acted as a barrier to workers' mobility. But for those who have moved within the EU, it has paid off. Career opportunities are often improved by international experiences, and companies also benefit from the increased diversity in their staff.

Source: Get moving! Europe needs worker mobility
IESE CELA, Sagardoy Abogados, Creade
IESE Insight, Nov 2006

Review by Emilie Filou

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