- Before the crisis hit Europe around 2 million people moved between EU27+4 every year and, approximately, 6.5 million moved within these countries from NUTS2 regions to another
- Differences in migration patterns go along lines of wealth and accessibility. Thus, affluent regions and cities, including larger agglomerations in Central and Eastern Europe gain from migration whereas more peripheral and poor regions lose
- At the EU27+4 level, the main axis of intra-European migration can be observed between Germany and Poland
- Domestic migration trends seem to reinforce the national urban system and consequently the existing structure
Observations for policy
Differences in migration patterns follow wealth and accessibility. Affluent regions and cities gain from migration whereas more peripheral and poor regions lose. Large agglomeration in Central and Eastern Europe are among gaining regions. Equally important is the fact that domestic migration trends to seem to reinforce the cities in national urban systems.
Free movement of people is one of the cornerstones of European integration. In times of economic crisis and growing social economic imbalances in Europe, labour mobility is an important topic for policy.
The map to the left shows the migration patterns of 2 million people a year moving between the EU27+4 countries. The main axis of migration flows is between Germany and Poland. This is followed at a considerable lower level by the migration flows between Romania-Spain and Romania-Italy. Furthermore, there are considerable migration flows between the UK and Spain and the UK and Poland.
Additionally, there are remarkable differences in the diversity of migration. The bilateral flows between Poland and Germany and Czech Republic and Germany represent over 50 per cent of all migration flows within EU27+4 for both Poland and Czech Republic. In contrast, Latvia, the Netherlands, France, the UK and especially Sweden, the migration pattern is more geographically spread and no singular main flows can be identified.
In 2006, approximately 6.5 million people moved from one NUTS2 region to another within the same country. Here the dominant flow to capital cities and larger metropolitan areas is visible. This is particularly evident for Paris, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Budapest and Helsinki.
Furthermore, differences between countries can be observed:
- Some countries have only very limited domestic migration flows, e.g. Poland which on the other hand is prominent in European migration flows from East to West;
- Some countries have large internal migration flows mainly between neighbouring regions. Examples for this are visible in Czech Republic and Austria. Also in Germany and in the UK migration flows over short distances dominate;
- In some countries, the main domestic migration flows are all directed to one city, e.g. Paris in France, Athens in Greece, Budapest in Hungary, or Helsinki in Finland. These migration patterns very clearly testify the strong dominance of the capital cities and reinforce the monocentric urban systems in these countries;
- Other countries show rather polycentric webs of domestic migration flows with several cities being main receiving nodes. Examples for this are Spain, Italy and Germany. These migration patterns reinforce the polycentric urban systems in the countries.
Furthermore, there are important migration flows between the EU27+4 countries and the rest of the world. These are however not reflected in the two maps. It also has to be underlined that the maps reflect data prior to the economic crisis.
Concepts and methods
All maps are based on the analysis of migration between countries and within countries.