The genesis of free movement of persons in the EU

Why and for whom?

Authored by: Kees Groenendijk

The Routledge Handbook of Critical European Studies

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138589919
eBook ISBN: 9780429491306
Adobe ISBN:


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Moving across state borders is essential for people who want to escape suppression by state or local authorities, discrimination, unemployment or poverty in their own country or for those wanting to improve their personal situation or satisfy their curiosity. International human rights treaties only guarantee the right to leave a country. The corresponding right to enter another country is conspicuously absent. State borders often are unsurmountable barriers to movement. The EU granted the right to cross state borders, enter other European states, travel, stay there or look for work to ever larger numbers of non-citizens since 1957. This was a long-term operation breaking down the legal and other barriers against cross border movement of persons. Those barriers became stricter after the World War I, the economic crisis of 1929 and during the years before and after the World War II. Freedom of movement of persons has been and is today of crucial importance as a source of personal development of individuals, of protection against human rights violations and of wealth in the EU.

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