Europeans ‘fear losing friends’

Fear of losing their private network is what keeps most Europeans from becoming mobile to find a better job, Eurofound’s analysis of Eurobarometer figures reveals.

Europeans are positive about mobility in theory, but less so in practice, Eurofound reports. 62 % think that mobility is ‘a good thing’. However, only 4% of EU citizens have ever moved to another country in the EU and less than 3% to another country outside the EU. Only 3.1% indicate that they might move to another EU country in the next five years. 

The main factors inciting Europeans to move across their country’s borders are the chance to discover a new environment, followed by expectations of better working conditions and a higher household income. The report casts doubts, however, as to whether it will be possible to do anything about the factors that keep 95% of Europeans from taking that step – most consider the risk of losing their social network and support from friends and family as the main drawback. 

Citzens of the ten new member states have much less experience of moving to another country than those from the 15 old ones – only 1% of EU-10 citizens have moved abroad, as opposed to 3% from the EU-15. In future, the report says, Central and Eastern Europeans will remain more sedentary than EU-15 citizens. Only 3% of new Europeans plan to move, while the figure for the EU-15 is 5%. Fears of a mass migration from Eastern Europe, which have been spurred in some EU-15 countries, are thus dismissed. 

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