A new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank urges the EU to chart a new course with regard to free movement rights.
The fact that every European citizen has the right to move around the EU for work, study or lifestyle is one of the EU’s most significant achievements, the report notes.
Over the past few decades, the report argues, free movement has improved the efficiency of European labour markets, created opportunities for cultural and educational exchange, and allowed people to permanently relocate to another country for family reasons or for retirement.
The fact that a majority of voters want Prime Minister David Cameron to seek to end the right to free movement as part of his proposed renegotiation of the United Kingdom’s relationship with the EU, is deeply worrying, the report says.
“These concerns should be treated with the respect they deserve and the positive case should focus on how the system can be made fair for all so that everyone shares in the benefits of migration,” says the report. “In our view, a good starting position for a more constructive narrative would be to acknowledge that, in the UK, migration from Europe is regarded as little different from all other migration flows, and so its impacts on both the economy and society need to be treated as such.”