One of the celebrated achievements of the European Union is the right to live and work in another Member State. How many citizens are using the right to work in another EU country? According to a recent EUROSTAT study using 2017 data, 3.8% of EU citizens of working age (20-64) live in another member state. Is that much or little? One out of 26 working in another EU country is less than you would expect. But there has been steep growth since 2007, when the respective share was 2.5%. This is an increase of 52.0%.
Tertiary graduates are more mobile than workers with lower educational qualifications. They form 32.4% of mobile citizens, whereas the average of all is 30.1%. It is also remarkable that the employment rate of mobile persons is higher than that of the entire population (76.1% vs. 72.1%).
At 19.7%, Romania has the highest rate of citizens abroad (80.3% in Romania), followed by Lithuania (15.0%), Croatia (14.0%), Portugal (13.9%) Latvia (12.9%) and Bulgaria (12.5%). Germany (1.0%), the United Kingdom (1.1%) as well as Sweden and France (both 1.3%) have the smallest shares of nationals abroad.
Unsurprisingly, mobility patterns reflect the relative lack of good employment prospects in the country of citizenship and low unemployment in the target countries. To figure at the top of the list of ‘labour-exporting’ countries is therefore a dubious pleasure.