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Free to Move: The Evolution of the European Migration Network, 1960–2017

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This contribution introduces a network approach to horizontal Europeanisation research and investigates the interconnectedness of European societies via cross-border migration. The main underlying assumption is that the establishment of pan-European mobility rights and their extension to ever wider shares of Europe's population has stimulated intra-European migration. Taking a social network perspective, we track the development of the European migration network over more than half a century (1960-2017). The analysis is based on dyadic migration stock data for 37 European countries, stemming from the World Bank and the United Nations. Indeed, large parts of the evidence suggest advancing horizontal Europeanisation, as the European mobility network has become more tight-knit and Europeans increasingly move within Europe rather than to countries in other parts of the world. Europe even emerged as a distinct and largely unified entity in the worldwide migration network, at least until 2010. At the same time, the shape of the European migration network reveals a strong core-periphery division. Moreover, since the dissolution of the Eastern bloc this sociometric hierarchy increasingly maps on Europe's economic core-periphery structure. Taken together, our findings suggest an advancing, yet unequal and partially challenged Europeanisation.
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Chapter 4
Free to Move: The Evolution of the European
Migration Network, 1960–2017
Jan Delhey1,*, Monika Verbalyte1,2, Auke Aplowski1, Emanuel Deutschmann3
1 Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, 2 Free University Berlin, 3 European University Institute,
* Corresponding author: jan.delhey@ovgu.de
Abstract: This contribution introduces a network approach to horizontal Europeanisation re-
search and investigates the interconnectedness of European societies via cross-border migration.
The main underlying assumption is that the establishment of pan-European mobility rights and
their extension to ever wider shares of Europe’s population has stimulated intra-European mi-
gration. Taking a social network perspective, we track the development of the European migra-
tion network over more than half a century (1960-2017). The analysis is based on dyadic migra-
tion stock data for 37 European countries, stemming from the World Bank and the United Na-
tions. Indeed, large parts of the evidence suggest advancing horizontal Europeanisation, as the
European mobility network has become more tight-knit and Europeans increasingly move
within Europe rather than to countries in other parts of the world. Europe even emerged as a
distinct and largely unified entity in the worldwide migration network, at least until 2010. At
the same time, the shape of the European migration network reveals a strong core-periphery
division. Moreover, since the dissolution of the Eastern bloc this sociometric hierarchy increas-
ingly maps on Europe’s economic core-periphery structure. Taken together, our findings suggest
an advancing, yet unequal and partially challenged Europeanisation.
Introduction
For a long time, the European Union (EU) and its predecessors have aspired to “an ever closer
union among the peoples” of Europe (first mentioned in the 1983 Solemn Declaration on the
European Union). In the most ambitious interpretation, this would mean the creation of a Eu-
ropean society. Among sociologists, however, there is widespread consensus that such an inte-
grated and institutionally unified entity does not exist (Bach, 2003; Rumford, 2001), as the
demos that typically characterizes a fully-fledged society is missing (Delanty, 1998). Scholars
Forthcoming as: Delhey, J., M. Verbalyte, A. Aplowski & E. Deutschmann (2019). Free to Move: The Evo-
lution of the European Migration Network, 1960-2017. In: M. Heidenreich (ed.), Horizontal Europeanisation:
The Transnationalisation of Daily Life and Social Fields in Europe. London/New York: Routledge.
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do agree, however, on the existence of processes of growing transnationalisation, interdepend-
ence, and interconnectedness across national borders in Europe (Beck and Grande, 2008; Del-
hey, 2004; Heidenreich et al., 2012; Immerfall, 2000; Mann, 1998; Mau and Verwiebe, 2010)
trends that form part of horizontal Europeanisation as defined in the introductory chapter (Hei-
denreich in this volume).
This contribution looks at the interconnectedness of European societies established through a
specific type of cross-border exchange, namely migration. Today, to many observers migration
seems to have a predominantly conflictive connotationone of increased tensions or even dis-
integration, as in the case of the Brexit referendum (cf. Miller, 2016) or the Eastern opposition
to host refugees (Krăstev, 2017). More optimistic voices hint of the potential of immigration to
make societies more (Teney, 2012) and to strengthen feelings of transnational attachment
(Deutschmann et al., 2018). From a strictly structural perspective, however, cross-border ex-
change as such indicates transnational societalisation (Deutsch, 1957; Simmel, 1904). Adopting
this structural perspective, we study the development of cross-border migration among Euro-
pean societies since 1960 with the tools of social network analysis. Using the network notion
not only as a metaphor but as an analytical concept, we investigate the internal structure, den-
sity, and formation of the European migration network, and explore its distinctiveness in the
context of global population movements.
Migration in Europe has not been thoroughly analysed from this perspective so far. Qualitative
research has investigated the relation between migration and European identity (e.g. Recci and
Favell, 2009), with a key interest in vanguard migrants. Macro-sociological research on past
(e.g. Zimmermann, 1996) and current migration in Europe (e.g. Batsaikhan et al., 2018; Fass-
mann et al., 2009) traces the main directions, structural causes, economic consequences, and
political regulations of cross-border migration but does not pay close attention to what it means
in terms of Europeanisation. To fill this research gap, the contribution at hand addresses two
main questions: First, does the development of the European migration network suggest ad-
vancing horizontal Europeanisation? Second, what does the structure of the migration network
look like in terms of core and periphery? We explore these issues for 37 European countries,
covering the years from 1960 to 2017. This long period of investigation enables us to not only
track the evolution of the migration network over more than half a century but also to relate it
to the deepening and widening of Europe’s political integration. Our argument is that there is
at least an association between the establishment of mainly EU-induced mobility rights that
now entitle the vast majority of Europeans to move freely within EU borders and the develop-
ment of the European migration network.
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In the next section we introduce in more detail our conceptual framework and the network
approach. We then present our research questions and consider contextual factors that shape
the evolution and structure of the European migration network. We then describe our data and
methods and present our empirical evidence. In the final section we summarize and discuss the
main findings, particularly against the EU’s objectives of an ever closer union of people as well
as socio-economic convergence among its member states.
Horizontal Europeanisation from a Social Network Perspective
Horizontal Europeanisation and Transnational Human Activities
The concept of horizontal Europeanisation (Heidenreich in this volume; cf. also Heidenreich
et al., 2012) has been developed in order to strengthen sociology’s capacity to grasp processes
of Europeanisation that are not immediately related to Europe’s political integration and supra-
national institution building. In this vein, horizontal Europeanisation considers the transnation-
alisation of national societies, with an eye on both social fields and the social space. Social
fields are the various systemic arenas in whichtypicallycollective actors compete strategi-
cally in pursuit of desirable resources. (Case studies on several European social fields, among
them the field of universities, are included in this volume.) The social space, in contrast, is the
space of social positions and social practices. Both social fields and the social space are influ-
enced by EU policiesthe former more directly through their strategic use (be it implementa-
tion, adjustment, or contestation) by the individual and collective actors in specific areas of
their professional activity, the latter more indirectly through the dissemination of European ref-
erence frames in personal attitudes or increasing accessibility and realisation of transnational
practices by European citizens within Europe.
While the process of Europeanisation of social fields is plumbable by observing strategic ac-
tions, decisions, institutional exchanges, and argumentation patterns of specific social fields,
capturing processes of Europeanisation of the social space requires a different approach because
its potential carriers are not specific, limited groups of actors but rather the European population
as a whole. A more subjective approach to the Europeanisation of the social space is to study
attitudes and reference frames of Europeans; a more objective approach is to study transna-
tional practices such as mobilities and communications. Here, we approach the issue of Euro-
peanisation of the social space by focussing on migration as one example of such transnational
practices. Recently, a number of studies have investigated transnational practices of Europeans,
often with an interest in individual-level differences created by class position, education, or age
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(Delhey et al., 2015; Diez Medrano, 2010; Fligstein, 2008; Mau and Mewes, 2012). In contrast,
we are concerned with the aggregated macrostructure of human mobility between countries,
which puts us in the tradition of the transactionalist school of regional integration (Caporaso,
1971; Deutsch, 1957). This school gauged the status of world regional integration from statistics
about various cross-border transactions, ranging from trade and foreign direct investment to
communication and human mobility. Similarly yet more recently, the interconnectedness of
national societies via transactions and exchange has been a prominent approach in globalization
research (Held et al., 1999).
Europe as a Network: The Network Approach
While the macro-sociological interest in cross-border transactions is old, some methods to an-
alyse them properly are quite recent. We suggest treating Europe as a web of cross-border in-
terrelations created by transnational human activities, or in other words: as a network. One of
the main advantages of this concept is that it allows studying Europe as an entity, without re-
quiring or claiming the existence of a European society. Presumably for this very reason, schol-
ars from various campsthe cosmopolitan and the transactionalhave epitomized Europe as
a network (Axford and Huggins, 2000; Delanty, 1998; Mann, 1998; Roche, 2009). However,
whereas many use the term network merely as a metaphor, few capitalise on the tools of
social network analysisthe methodological advantage the network concept offers.
Network analysis is characterised by its relational perspective. Unlike other methodological
approaches, the network approach accounts for the interconnections and relational interdepend-
encies (in this case constituted by the mobility of migrants) among units (here: European coun-
tries) and allows one to study both the overall structure of the network and the position of spe-
cific entities (here: European countries as receivers and senders of migrants) in it. We use this
approach to shed new light on two questions: First, is horizontal Europeanisation advancing?
Second, how is Europe’s (emerging) social space structured? Our example is cross-border mi-
gration to which we now turn.
The European Migration Network
From Migration to the Migration Network
Migration denotes a locational change of a person’s usual place of residence; international mi-
gration, then, occurs when the movement crosses national borders. Furthermore, one can argue
that when people exit their home country and enter another one, they establish a connection
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between them, or in other words, they form social bonds beyond the nationstate. In case the
two countries connected are both European, the formation of these social bonds through migra-
tion can be understood as part of the process of horizontal Europeanisation. Historically, Europe
has always been involved in international migrationtraditionally as a continent of emigration
(Altman and Horn, 1991), more recently of immigration (Özden et al., 2011: 38). Bringing
migration into focus suggests itself: It is traditionally considered to be an important indicator
of regional integration (Deutsch, 1972), and data are readily available through international
bodies like the United Nations and the World Bank. Moreover, (legal) migration heavily de-
pends on regulations and rights. A long-standing goal of the EC/EU has been to enable citizens
to move freely from one member state to another, and mobility rights were introduced and
applied to member states and affiliated countries. The issue of migration, therefore, is well
suited to investigate the impact of Europe’s political unification on its social space.
The chief attraction of studying Europe as a network is that the entire web of migration move-
ments can be taken into account. Surprisingly, the proper analytical tool, social network anal-
ysis, has been rarely utilized to study migration so far. To date, sophisticated network studies
are available for European trade (e.g. Fligstein and Merand, 2002), the Eurovision Song Contest
(e.g. Charron, 2013) and European transnational attachment (Deutschmann et al., 2018), but for
migration, few studies have used this method beyond the mere visualisation of migration move-
ments (cf. Brunarska et al., 2014 for a notable exception; also see network analysis of asylum
requests and transfers in the Dublin system by Lahusen and Wacker in this volume). Still, the
network approach is not an end in itself; rather, we want to utilize it to gain new insights into
issues that have occupied the sociology of Europe for a long time. The first of these issues is
whether there is a trend towards Europeanisation.
The Migration Network and Advancing Europeanisation: Three Criteria
How can we study horizontal Europeanisation from a network perspective looking at the case
of migration? Three criteria can be established.
Criterion 1: Europe’s interconnectedness: The first and most simple yardstick is whether over
time there is an increase in intra-European migration. The more border crossings, the more
“open” the containers of the nation–states are towards each other (see Heidenreich in this vol-
ume). Secondly, the tightness (or density) of the migration network is of interest: The more
countries in the network are connected with each other via cross-border mobility and the
stronger these ties on average are, the more consolidated the European social space is. Looking
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at intra-European mobility alone is sufficient to reveal growing (or declining) interconnected-
ness.
Criterion 2: Europe’s internal closure: As Michael Mann has noted, “[h]uman history has seen
an enormous secular increase in the breadth of […] networks, moving humans away from a
predominance of local networks of interaction toward the national, the international and the
transnational—and most recently towards the global” (Mann, 1998: 187). This means that var-
ious layers of societalisation involving different spatial scales exist, ranging from the local up
to the global (cf. Heidenreich in this volume). For migration, movements within Europe consti-
tute only part of the international migration of Europeans, as popular destination countries may
lie in other world regions. The second criterion, therefore, is more demanding than the first one
in requiring the migration ties within Europe to be more extensive than those between Europe
and the outside world. From this relative perspective (cf. Delhey et al., 2014; Immerfall, 2000),
to diagnose horizontal Europeanisation is only justified if intra-European migration increases
faster than the cross-border migration of Europeans in general. To capture this empirically, we
develop a measure of internal closure, which denotes the share of intra-European migration in
all cross-border migration originating from European countries. Consequently, the European
migration network suggests advancing horizontal Europeanisation to the extent that its internal
closure increases. Empirically, this requires taking into account all migration ties in which Eu-
ropean countries are involved as “senders” of people, no matter their geographical reach.
Criterion 3: Europe’s distinctiveness: The third and final criterion is the most demanding one
in necessitating that Europe has been solidifying as a distinct migration space in the world. Put
differently, European countries should be more densely connected to each other via population
exchange than to non-European countries, and thus to have emerged as a distinguishable cluster
(a sub-network) within the global stream of migration. Whether Europe reaches such a visibility
within the global network, logically, depends not only on the amount and geographic reach of
Europeans’ cross-border migration, but also on that involving all mobile people on planet Earth.
Accordingly, for this final touchstone one has to observe the development of migration ties
among all countries worldwide.
The Migration Network and Coreperiphery Structures
The second issue of general interest we address in this contribution concerns Europe’s social
structure. Previously, scholars have mainly investigated the extent of territorial inequalities in
Europe, e.g. in terms of national or regional income levels, and how they are affected by pro-
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cesses of vertical (i.e., supranational) and horizontal Europeanisation (Beckfield, 2009; Hei-
denreich and Wunder, 2007). In contrast, network analysis allows us to uncover the sociometric
structure of Europein our concrete case, the sociometry of the migration network. Inspired
by the world system’s research tradition that derives core/periphery positions of countries from
their economic exchange relations (cf. Babones, 2005; Massey et al., 1999), the migration net-
work can be described in terms of core and periphery, too. Whereas core countries tend to attract
mobile people so that on balance, more people immigrate than emigrate (resulting in a positive
net migration rate), for peripheral countries it is the other way around (a negative net migration
rate). The (changing) sociometric coreperiphery structure of migration can thus be used as a
lens that allows us to unveil unequal horizontal Europeanisation. Additionally, Europe’s soci-
ometric hierarchy in the migration network can be compared to other hierarchies established by
the more traditional comparative approache.g. the economic hierarchy in terms of national
income or levels of modernizationin order to explore how they relate to and presumably in-
fluence each other.
Factors that Shape the European Migration Network: A Parsimonious Model
For structuring the empirical analysis that follows, it is helpful to devise concrete expectations
about how the European migration network developed over the past 60 years. We highlight
three factors that hypothetically could have influenced both the network’s advancement and its
structure: legal migration regulations (mobility rights), the share of people entitled to mobility
(population coverage), and the inequality of the European social space in terms of socio-eco-
nomic and political conditions (structural heterogeneity). Our rationale for considering these
factors is as follows. The classical pushpull model of international migration (cf. Harris and
Todaro, 1970; Lee, 1966; Stark and Taylor, 1989) posits that people migrate from countries
where they lack opportunities to pursue their life goals to countries that offer better life chances.
Thus, huge between-country gaps in opportunities motivate migration. However, this motiva-
tion cannot always be actualized, and this is where mobility rights come into play: For legal
migration at least, people need both exit rights to leave their country of residence and entry
rights to settle in their preferred destination country (Cassee, 2016). Our basic assumption,
therefore, is that the more unequal a social space (here: Europe) is and the more people enjoy
encompassing mobility rights, the more migration will take place within that space. We will
now explain these factors in more detail, beginning with mobility rights.
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The Deepening and Broadening of Mobility Rights
After WWII, three key developments in Europe furthered mobility rights and made them avail-
able to an ever-growing number of peopleto an extent that makes Europe (more precisely,
the EU and the member states of the European Economic Area, EEA) rather exceptional world-
wide. A first milestone was the bilateral recruitment agreements of the 1960s. To compensate
for shortages in the labour force, a number of West European countries signed contracts with
Southern and South-eastern European countries (as well as with Turkey and Morocco) to attract
so-called guest workers. Initially entailing a rotation principle, the agreements were soon re-
vised so that workers were allowed to permanently reside in and to bring their families to the
host country. After being in place for roughly one decade, recruitment agreements were sus-
pended in 1973, when the oil crisis harshly hit the West European economies. Still, millions
ofmainly Europeanworkers used the opportunity to work and live in the receiver countries
(cf. Castles, 1986).
A second milestone was the dissolution of the Eastern bloc. During the Cold War, a mixture of
legal obstacles, repression, and massive border controls kept emigration numbers in the socialist
countries generally low. Important exceptions were in place for some ethnic communities, e.g.
Germans living in the Eastern territories of the former German Empire (cf. Stola, 2005). When
the socialist regimes imploded in 19891992, Eastern Europeans gained exit rights, and with
their countries’ eventual EU accession (see below) also entry rights to other EU/EEA member
statesright away or after temporary entry limitations imposed by some EU-15 members
(Mungiu-Pippidi, 2005).
The final and most consequential milestone is closely related to the EU and its predecessors:
The free movement of workers is a fundamental EU principle, first established in the Treaty of
Rome in 1957 for the European Economic Community (EEC), later enshrined in Article 45 of
the Lisbon Treaty (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) and developed by EU
secondary legislation and jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice. EU citizens are enti-
tled to look for a job in another EU country, work there without needing a work permit, reside
in that country for the employment period, stay there even after employment has finished, and
enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions, and all other
social as well as tax advantages. The EU citizenship (Directive 2004/38/EC) complements these
rights insofar as EU citizens are generally allowed to stay in another member country for up to
90 daysor longer, if they have sufficient financial means and health insurance. The Schengen
Agreement and the introduction of the euro further lowered barriers for Europeans mobility
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(Beine et al., 2017). Taken together, these supranational regulations imply a radical removal of
barriers for cross-border movement of EU citizens within the EU and the EEA. Practically,
fellow EU citizens are put on equal footing with national citizens.
Through the stepwise enlargements of the European Union (Vobruba, 2003), an ever-growing
percentage of the European population has become entitled to these far-reaching mobility rights
(see Table 4.1). The two-tiered Eastern enlargement was certainly most significant, as 13 new
member states accessed. Currently, 30 out of the 37 countries we consider in this study as Eu-
ropean are EU or EEA members, and their citizenries thus enjoy free movement rights, which
equals almost 90 percent of Europe’s population.1
Table 4.1. The sequence of EU enlargements
Enlargement
round
EU size
Year
Countries involved
Founding 6
EC-6
1957
Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg,
Netherlands
Western en-
largement
EC-9
1973
Denmark, Ireland, UK
Southern en-
largement
EC-12
1981*/
1986
*Greece, Portugal, Spain
Northern en-
largement
EU-15
1995
Austria, Finland, Sweden
Eastern en-
largement I
EU-25
2004
Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithu-
ania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia
Eastern en-
largement II
EU-28
2007/
2011*
Bulgaria, Romania, *Croatia
EEA members
1960
Iceland (1970), Norway
Other
Albania, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedo-
nia, Serbia, Moldova, Switzerland (part of the sin-
gle market), Ukraine
The Changing Heterogeneity of the European Social Space
International migration surely has many reasons: job-seeking and career chances, quality-of-
life and personal development, marriage and family reunion, as well as political discontent and
wars. Consequently, the European migration history of the past 50 years knows various types
of migrants (Castles et al., 2014; King, 2002; Verwiebe et al., 2014). Although our data set of
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country-to-country migration flows is silent about underlying motivations, we nevertheless can
consider Europe’s changing structural diversity, as the size and nature of between-country gaps
in political, economic, and other life conditions should affect migration decisions and thus
shape the migration network in a predictable way.
To start with, after WWII Europe developed into a remarkably peaceful continent in terms of
military conflicts. The wars in the former Yugoslavia (19912000) and the recent military con-
flict in Ukraine have been the major exceptions. In terms of political liberties and civil rights,
contemporary Europe is much more homogenous than in the past, thanks to democratic transi-
tions first in the South, later in the East. The vast majority of European countries is governed
democratically (e.g. Vanhanen's Index of Democracy; Bühlmann, 2011: 2122) and is consid-
ered “free” by Freedom House. Only Belarus is rated “not free”, and four countriesAlbania,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, and Ukraine—“partly free” (Freedom House, 2018). While
this does not rule out that political discontent could still play a role in stimulating migration
(Bygnes & Flipo, 2017), in post-Cold-War Europe few populations suffer from political perse-
cution. Tellingly, most refugees nowadays come from outside Europe (Castles et al., 2014: 80;
Eurostat, 2018).
Figure 4.1. Drivers of European migration and their impact on the European migration network
Source: Own depiction.
Structural heterogeneities
political, economic, quality of life
migration incentives
changing structure of the European
migration network
(Expanding) pan-European
mobility rights
exit rights; entry rights
migration entitlements
growing density, closure and
distinctiveness of the European
migration network
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In contrast, the diversity in levels of socio-economic development is still large. There is a five-
fold difference in GDP per capita in purchasing power parities between Luxembourg (the rich-
est EU member state) and Bulgaria (the poorest one), and a threefold difference between Ireland
(second richest) and Romania (second poorest). Moldova and Belarus, two former Soviet Re-
publics, are even poorer than Bulgaria (World Bank, 2018). Most importantly, with eastward
enlargement the lion’s share of Europe’s socio-economic heterogeneity has been incorporated
into the borders of the EUand thus into the area of application of EU citizenship and free
movement rights. Public opinion research has revealed that EU citizens are quite aware of their
country’s relative economic standing, and that GDP per country is the main yardstick people
apply when evaluating various aspects of national living conditions (Delhey and Kohler, 2008).
This suggests that Europe’s economic gradient increasingly shapes the migration network.
Deriving Expectations about the Evolution of the European Migration Network
To summarize the argument (cf. also Figure 4.1), over time an increasing proportion of Euro-
peans has been legally entitled to move freely within the EU/EEA. This dual expansion terri-
torial and substantial of mobility rights took place in a situation in which political differences
between European countries lessened while socio-economic differences were still large and
progressively incorporated into the EU. This confluence of legal and structural changes allows
us to develop a set of hypotheses.
Europe’s interconnectedness: Due to expanding mobility rights and the stepwise enlargement
of the EU, we assume more intra-European migration and a more consolidated network.
H1: Over time, the European migration network has become more extensive and
tight-knit.
Europe’s core–periphery structure: Given Europe’s (and the EU’s) socio-economic diversity,
we expect to find a clear-cut coreperiphery structure of the European migration network.
Moreover, as political conditions converge, the economic gradient should increasingly shape
the network.
H2: Over time, there is a growing association between Europe’s sociometric core–
periphery structure and its economic hierarchy.
Europe’s internal closure: The mobility rights discussed above are specifically European; they
made it easier for Europeans to move to other European countries. Thus, their implementation
should have affected the geography of migration in making other European countries more ac-
cessible as destinations, relative to countries in other parts of the world.
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H3: Over time, Europeans increasingly move to other European countries, rather
than to non-European countries.
Europe’s distinctiveness: The last hypothesis addresses the visibility of a genuinely European
migration cluster as a sub-network within the worldwide flows of migration. Assuming that
intra-European mobility has increased both in absolute (H1) and relative terms (H3), it is pos-
sible that Europe has solidified as a distinct space of migration.
H4: Over time, Europe has become more distinguishable as a regional migration
cluster within the worldwide migration network.
Data and Methods
This set of hypotheses is tested with dyadic migration stock data. Data sources are the World
Bank Global Bilateral Migration Database (19602010, with one observation every 10 years,
plus 2013) and the United Nations Population Division (19902015, with one observation every
five years, plus 2017). Both organisations provide data on worldwide migration in a dyadic and
directed format, i.e., the number of migrants from country A living in country B. The definition
of migrants according to the World Bank considers only “foreign-born” people (Özden et al.,
2011). In contrast, the UN data set comprises “foreign-born” people and, if there is no infor-
mation about the place of birth, “foreign citizens” (United Nations, 2017: 3); the UN also adds
the number of refugees provided by the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) for
some developing countries that are “deemed not to have included refugees in their reported
statistics on the stocks of international migrants” (Ibid: 4). For full transparency, we show trends
from both sources where possible.
After excluding countries with fewer than 100,000 inhabitants, the global data set consists of
179 sender and receiver countries (amounting to a network of 31,862 dyads). We use this data
set to test H4. For the research questions related exclusively to intra-European migration (H1
and H2), we create a reduced version of the data set that contains, following the UN M.49
GeoScheme for Europe (excluding Russia), 37 European countries, or 1,332 country pairs. To
test H3, we compare intra-European migration flows with worldwide migration from Europe,
based on these data sets.
We use network visualisations to illustrate the European migration network as well as several
social network analysis measures, including density and centrality, to describe it (cf. Wasser-
man and Faust, 1999). For the last analytical step, i.e., detecting a potential European cluster
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within the global migration network, we employ a community detection algorithm, the density-
based modularity approach (Newman, 2006). This algorithm combines countries into clusters
if they are more tightly connected with each other than beyond cluster borders.
Results
The European Migration Network in 2017
Figure 4.2 depicts the state of the European migration network in 2017, taking only mobility
between European countries into account. The thicker the arrow, the more migrants from coun-
try A (where the arrow starts) live in country B (where the arrow ends). The bigger the country
bubble, the higher the involvement of that country in intra-European migration in terms of both
immigration and emigration. The colour of the country bubble indicates whether there are more
immigrants than emigrants in that country (blue) or the other way around (red).
There are three main movement directions of migrants, mirroring both recent and more distant
flows since WWII (additional visualisations for the years 1960 to 2015 are available at
www.network-europe.eu/materials): First, an EastWest movement (e.g. Poland and Romania
Germany; Poland UK), which includes refugees in the wake of WWII (Castles et al.,
2014: 104), dissidents fleeing from persecution under communism (e.g. Stola, 2005), and more
recent labour migrants. Economic migration from the East to the West starkly grew after the
removal of the Iron Curtain and accelerated as the EU expanded eastward in 2004 and 2007 (cf.
Kahanec et al., 2016).
The second major direction is SouthNorth (e.g. Portugal → France; Italy → Germany), which
started in the 1960s with the recruitment of guest workers to the industrially flourishing Western
European countries (e.g. Castles, 1986). The third big population movement involves the East
South direction (e.g. Romania Italy; Romania Spain). Starting in the early 2000s, this
movement is largely a product of EU enlargements (Castles et al., 2014: 114), which gave free
movement rights to the new, and on average much poorer, EU citizens (cf. Favell, 2008). In
this context, some of the Southern countries of the EU-15 themselves became destination coun-
tries for European migrants, in particular from the new EU member states (Castles et al., 2014:
113115).
Other, smaller migration routes are from the republics of the former Yugoslavia to Greece,
Italy, Austria, and Germany; and from Ukraine to Poland, Belarus, and Western European coun-
tries. These flows may be seen as exceptions in today’s context, as they were likely induced by
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recent or current military conflicts: by the Yugoslav wars in 19912000 (cf. Molnar, 1997) and
the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine (e.g. European Asylum Support Office, 2016: 4041).
Other country connections reflect labour migration between prosperous countries (e.g. Ger-
many → Switzerland; Ireland UK).
Figure 4.2: European migration network, 2017
Note: Only 40 percent of the highest migrant movements (more than 2574 migrants, which corresponds
to the 3rd quintile of the rank-ordered distribution in 2010) is depicted. Data: United Nations.
Finally, the arrow from the UK to Spain may contain “lifestyle migrants”: a growing number
of (mainly retired) British citizens who go abroad to enjoy their lives in a warmer climate with
a higher disposable income than at home (Office of National Statistics, 2017).
Overall, Europeans have predominantly moved from the poorer fringes to the rich centre of the
continent, and overwhelmingly from the new member states in the East to Western and South-
ern Europe. In recent decades, these movements of people have generated five main receiver
countries (the bluest country nodes) that attract the lion’s share of European migrants in abso-
lute numbers: Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, and France. Switzerland is another yet much
15
smaller immigration magnet. In contrast, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Ukraine, Bosnia and Her-
zegovina, and Albania are the countries with the highest absolute numbers of emigrants (the
reddest nodes).
The Growth and Tightness of the European Migration Network (H1)
In our observation period, the absolute number of intra-European migrants has grown continu-
ously, from 15 million in 1960 to 27 million in 2017. But does this rise just result from increases
between a few country pairs, or has the European migration network as a whole become tighter?
The density measure informs about existing ties as a portion of all theoretically possible ties,
and thus ranges from 0 to 1. The higher the density, the higher the number of countries con-
nected to each other through “considerable”2 migration ties. Figure 4.3 (black line) shows that
the density of the European migration network has grown steadily over time, increasing from
.42 in 1960 to .70 in 2017. Put differently, while in 1960, 42 percent of the country pairs had a
considerable amount of migration occurring between them, in 2017, 70 percent did. The steady
increase suggests a robust and long-term trend towards a more comprehensive, tight-knit net-
work.
Figure 4.3: Density of the European migration network, 1960-2017
Note: The measurement of density is based on the dichotomised data (see footnote 2). The average
degree is calculated from the weighted original data.
A second network measure we draw on is average degree, i.e., the average number of migrants
between two countries. This measure also suggests growing interconnectedness (Figure 4.3,
16
grey line). Whereas the average link was approximately 10,000 migrants in 1960, it reached
almost 25,000 in 2017. Like density, average degree confirms H1. European countries are today
more interrelated with each other via cross-border migration than ever since the 1960s.
The CorePeriphery Structure of the European Migration Network (H2)
What does the sociometric structure of the European migration network look like, and how
closely does it match Europe’s economic hierarchy? To answer these questions, we first need
to establish the core and periphery of the migration network. As suggested in the conceptual
part, core (peripheral) countries are defined as those with the most positive (negative) net mi-
gration rates.3 Put differently, the sociometric positions are derived from relative, not absolute
migration numbers.
Figure 4.4: Net migration rates of the European countries, 2017
Data: United Nations.
In 2017, Luxembourg (well ahead of all the others), Switzerland, Austria, Norway, and Ger-
many were the most central countries, whereas Lithuania, Romania, Moldova, Belarus, and
Albania were the most peripheral ones (Figure 4.4). This structure represents a division into
West and East, as already suggested by the migration map (Figure 4.2).
17
We are now able to investigate the overlap between the sociometric and the economic hierarchy,
the latter derived from countries’ GDP per capita, adjusted for purchasing power. Table 4.2
provides the respective rank correlations since 1990. Back then, there was a moderately strong
positive association between the two hierarchies (a rank correlation of .55). Since then, this
association has become much stronger, hitting a record high of .78 in 2017. There has been an
intermediate trend of a slightly weakening association during the 1990s, which possibly reflects
the large number of ex-Yugoslavians who escaped war in their countries of origin and who thus
did not move for economic reasons. Yet the general trend is unmistakable: Europe’s economic
and sociometric coreperiphery structure increasingly map on each other, confirming H2. The
time period between 2000 and 2010 has seen the biggest increase of the rank correlation. Two
rounds of eastward enlargements through which predominantly less prosperous countries ac-
cessed the EU, and the pacification of the Balkan region, explain this rise. The financial crisis
of 20072008, but not the Euro crisis of 20102014, seems to have reinforced this trend.
Table 4.2: Correlation between Europe’s economic and sociometric hierarchy
Year
Rank correlation
Source of migration data
1990
.55*
UN & WB
1995
.50*
UN
2000
.48*
UN & WB
2005
.63***
UN
2010
.73***
UN & WB
2013
.72***
WB
2015
.75***
UN
2017
.78***
UN
Note: GDP in PPP (current international $) per capita. Calculations for 2017 with GDP values of 2016.
Rank correlation entries are Spearman rank correlation coefficients. * p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001.
Data: World Bank for GDP, World Bank and UN for migration. If both sources provided migration data,
separate rank correlations were calculated and then averaged.
Europeanisation or Globalization? The Network’s Internal Closure (H3)
In the conceptual part we argued for the importance of distinguishing Europeanisation specifi-
cally from transnationalisation more generally. Internal closure captures the migrants from Eu-
rope moving to other European countries as a share of all migrants from Europe. As displayed
in Figure 4.5, there is a clear trend towards internal closure. In 1960, a minority of 38 percent
of European migrants moved within Europe’s borders, whereas a majority of 62 percent moved
18
to the other continents. By 2017, these proportions had reversed to 59 percent moving inside
and 41 percent outside of European enormous shift in proportions that confirms H3. Much
of the change took place after 1990, i.e. after the dissolution of the Eastern bloc.
Figure 4.5: Europe’s internal closure
Europe’s Distinctiveness in the Global Migration Network (H4)
We now move on to the last question, the extent to which Europe constitutes an identifiable
cluster within the worldwide migration network. Answering this question requires the analysis
of the structure of migration ties globally (technically speaking, one has to detect the global
network’s community structure). Our answer comes in two parts: one part is based on the long-
term trend from 1960 to 2010, and the other is based on recent developments from 2010 to
2017. The results of this community detection are shown in condensed form in Figure 4.6. It
reveals that the decades 19602010 are indeed characterised by the rise of Europe as a distinct
and increasingly unified regional migration cluster. In 1960 and 1970, Europe did not exist as
a united migration cluster. Instead, European countries were part of two separate clusters: The
Eastern bloc, (depicted in red) which stretched well into the western part of Europe, including
Germany and Austria, and the large, US-dominated multiregional cluster, (depicted in ma-
genta), which included most of Western and South-eastern Europe, but also many other coun-
tries from around the globe. Things changed dramatically between 1970 and 1980, as a new
19
European migration cluster emerged with Western Europe as its centre of gravity: “Europe-
plus” (depicted in blue). Figure 4.6 visualises how Europe-plus originated from some countries
separating from the multiregional cluster and others from the Eastern bloc. Until 2010, Europe-
plus persisted and grew bigger over time. Although formed overwhelmingly by European coun-
tries, Europe-plus also contains several non-European countries, such as former colonies in
South America that are connected to Europe-plus via strong migration ties to Portugal and
Spain, hence the plus in the cluster name. Yet over the decades, Europe-plus has steadily be-
come more European, both in terms of countries involved and the share of intra-cluster migrants
(note: only the latter information is depicted in Figure 4.6).
As a result, in 20104 the world of migration viewed from a European perspective looked as
follows (Figure 4.7): Most European countries (27) formed part of Europe-plus; six belonged
to Eastern Europe and Central Asia; and another four countries, including the UK and Ireland,
to the global multiregional cluster. Moreover, most of the 20 non-European countries that were
part of Europe-plus were connected via one or two strong ties only, typically the former colonial
powers Spain, Portugal, or France. In terms of migration volumes, roughly 85 percent of all
migration within Europe-plus was intra-European. This leads us to conclude that by 2010 Eu-
rope had emerged and solidified as a quite distinct migration space, largely in accordance with
H4.
In 2017, however, the world looked very different. Events such as the UkraineRussian war,
the civil war in Syria, and the subsequent refugee crisis of 20152016 had considerably re-
shaped the European migration cluster vis-à-vis other clusters. Basically, Europe had disinte-
grated. As Figure 4.8 reveals, in 2017, European countries belonged to four different clusters:
(1) a considerably shrunken Europe-plus, consisting mainly of Western and Southern European
countries which, in part, constituted the former EU-15; (2) Eastern Europe and Central Asia, to
which currently the majority of European countries, including Germany, belonged; (3) the mul-
tiregional cluster, of which the UK and Ireland were part; and (4) “Levant-plus,” a new cluster
with a centre of emigration in the Middle East, to which Sweden is linked via the large number
of immigrants from these countries (The United Nations Refugee Agency, 2018) and Finland
through strong migration ties with Sweden (e.g. Hedberg, 2007: 455456). The recent and
largely crisis-driven migration flows from the former Soviet republics and from Europe’s neigh-
bouring regions particularly into Europe’s Western countries thus reshaped the global migration
network and its components. These developments appear to have interfered withand to some
extent reversed—Europe’s rise as a largely united and distinct migration cluster. In terms of
migration, the period 20052010 may represent the apex of horizontal Europeanisation.
20
Figure 4.6: Transitions among clusters of the global migration network, 1960-2017
Note: The thickness of cluster shows what part of the worldwide migration movement the migration movement in that cluster constitutes. Only European migration is coloured.
Colours correspond to those in figures 7 and 8. Data: World Bank (for 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010) and UN (for 2017).
21
Figure 4.7: Worldwide analysis of migration clusters, 2010
Note: Only the highest 40 percent of migrant movements are depicted (i.e. more than 2,574 migrants, which is equivalent to the 3rd quintile of the rank-ordered distribution in the
European network in 2010). The thickness of arrows is proportional to the number of migrants who went from the country where the arrow starts to the country where the arrow
ends. The size of country nodes is proportional to the sum of all the immigrants and emigrants in the country. The size of arrows and nodes is directly comparable across years. The
community detection algorithm used is based on modularities (with a 1.5 resolution factor). The analysis returned 7 clusters (modularity = .518, with resolution = .887), represented
by different colours: Magenta Multiregional cluster, Red Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Blue Europe Plus, Green Muslim world & South Asia, Dark yellow Western
Africa, Light yellow Eastern and Southern Africa, Grey Iran, Iraq & Afghanistan. Data: World Bank.
22
Figure 4.8: Worldwide analysis of migration clusters, 2017
Note: For 2017, modularity analysis returned 6 clusters (modularity = .504, with resolution = .885), represented by different colours: Magenta Multiregional cluster, Red
Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Blue Europe Plus, Green Muslim world & South Asia, Dark yellow Eastern and Southern Africa, Black Levant Plus. Data: UN.
23
Discussion and Conclusion
The aim of this contribution was to introduce a network approach to horizontal Europeanisation
research and to demonstrate its empirical power using the example of migration. We tracked
the development of the European migration network over more than half a century (1960
2017), prompted by two main questions: Is Europe “growing together”, in terms of migration?
And how did the social structure of the European migration network change over time?
The evidence in large part suggests a growing Europeanisation since 1960, and particularly
after the continent’s political division into “West” and “East” had been overcome. European
societies have been growing together via migration (increasing interconnectedness), and mobile
Europeans increasingly move to other European countries rather than to countries outside Eu-
rope (internal closure). When considering the worldwide movement of people, Europe emerged
and then solidified as a quite distinct and increasingly united migration cluster from 1980 on-
wards, roughly until 2010 (worldwide distinctiveness).
Which social forces are responsible for this unfolding Europeanisation? We argue that supra-
national regulations and Europe’s widening political unification are key. Comprehensive mo-
bility entitlements, and particularly the EEC/EU-related free movement regulations, greatly
simplified intra-European migration. As the EU enlarged (most relevant has been the massive
eastward enlargement of 20042007), these entitlements were granted to an ever-growing num-
ber of Europeans. While we cannot statistically prove that this confluence of deepening and
widening unification caused the Europeanisation of migration, it certainly has contributed to it.
This interpretation is in line with the idea of an indirect influence of EU policies, rules, and
resources on the European social space. More generally, our findings suggest that supranational
regulation projects (cf. Therborn, 1995) do have the means to shape transaction flows and thus
to stimulate interaction among the populations involved. Yet this is not a one-way street, and
political disintegrationmember states separating, less encompassing mobility rightscould
reverse the trend towards interconnectedness.
At the same time, our results suggest that an increasing Europeanisation of migration (a solid
trend until today) does not necessarily result in Europe being a separate and largely united clus-
ter within the worldwide network of migration. The recent and largely crisis-driven immigration
from Northern Africa and the Middle East to Europe fragmented the European migration clus-
ter, reversing its formation and solidification between ca. 1975 and 2010. It is difficult to fore-
cast whether this fragmentation is just a short-term interlude or will persist. Yet it is possible
24
that in terms of worldwide distinctiveness, we have seen the apex of the European migration
cluster around 2010, as Europe is now attracting more and more people from other world re-
gions, intentionally and unintentionally. In fact, since 1970 the relative mix of people migrating
to European countries has gradually shifted towards non-European migrants. Thus, only seem-
ingly paradoxical, the migration flows involving European countries are characterized by both
internal Europeanisation and external globalization.
Our research also provides new insights into the social (in the sense of sociometric) structure
of Europe’s social space. The sociometric hierarchy of countries as established by migration
flows reveals a clear WestEast division: All core countries are West European countries from
the former EU-15, while the most peripheral countries all belong to the Eastern part. Our anal-
ysis further contributes to the knowledge of how horizontal Europeanisation is interrelated with
territorial inequalities. Since the end of the Cold War, Europe’s sociometric hierarchy increas-
ingly has mapped onto its economic hierarchy. In other words, despite new and emerging types
of migrants, intra-European migration increasingly follows the economic gradient. This does
not necessarily mean that the motivation to go abroad is strictly economic; rather, the data sug-
gest that whatever motivates Europeans to emigrate, they increasingly expect to find it in the
affluent countries.
Primarily, the intensification of this tendency is a consequence of the EU’s enlargements since
2004, because free-movement rights were extended to Eastern Europeans for whom the eco-
nomic incentive to migrate was enormous (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2005). In a feedback loop, migra-
tion flows might fuel intra-European differences in economic prosperity via “brain drain” and
“brain gain” (cf. Beine et al., 2003; Docquier and Marfouk, 2006). Some emigration countries
such as Poland or the Baltic states already suffer from a shortage of qualified labour (e.g. Ka-
czmarczyk and Okólski, 2008), and even when taking emigrant remittances to the home coun-
tries into account, the general effect of migration to the sending countries is still rather negative
(e.g. Atoyan et al., 2016). Therefore, current migration patterns clearly complicate the promi-
nent EU goal of social and economic convergence among member states, as stated in Article B
of the Maastricht Treaty (Treaty on the European Union). Seen in conjunction with the well-
documented class bias in transnational activities (Delhey et al., 2015; Gerhards, 2014; Kuhn,
2011; Mau and Mewes, 2012), it appears that processes of horizontal Europeanisation amplify
rather than attenuate existing inequalities.
For other reasons, too, the growing intra-European migration might turn out to be a Pyrrhic
victory. In terms of sentiment towards migrants, there is evidence for backlash, as demonstrated
25
by the resistance against Polish immigrants to the UK and Romanian immigrants to France,
Italy, and Spain. Anti-migration sentiment was a key issue in the Brexit campaign that finally
won the referendum (e.g. Hobolt, 2016). If properly exploited by political parties, this sentiment
is fertile ground for Euroscepticism (Kuhn, 2011)even more so as Europe has become a pre-
ferred destination for refugees from crisis-ridden neighbouring regions. It therefore remains to
be seen whether immigration undermines citizens’ support for an achievement that proved in-
dispensable for the growing together of European societies: the free-movement rights of EU
citizens.
Acknowledgments
This research is part of the project Cross-border Interactions and Transnational Identities,
which is supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the framework of the
DFG research unit FOR-1539, Horizontal Europeanisation. For more information, see
www.horizontal-europeanization.eu/en. We are grateful to the editors of this volume, Martin
Heidenreich and Jenny Preunkert, as well as to Christian Lahusen and Christian Schneickert,
for their valuable feedback, and to Jonas Lohmüller for his helpful research assistance.
Notes
1. Even if one follows the broader definition of Europe by UN DESA, 69 percent of the Euro-
pean population are inhabitants of EU/EEA member states.
2. Density is a binary measure. To reduce our valued network to the binary one, we have set a
threshold from which we count ties as being large enough to be counted as relevant. Here, this
threshold is set to 146 migrants, which corresponds to the first quintile of the rank-ordered
distribution of the migration ties between European countries in 2010 (UN data).
3. In network terms, the balance of relative in- and out-degree centrality. In-degree centrality is
the sum of all incoming ties to a country (in this case the number of European immigrants in
that country), while out-degree centrality is the sum of the outgoing ties (i.e., the number of
emigrants from a given country who moved to other European countries). Both centrality
measures were calculated using relative numbers of migrants. For in-degree centrality, the num-
ber of immigrants was divided by the population of the receiving country. Equivalently, for out-
degree centrality the emigrant volume was put in relation to the sending country population.
4. Previous years available at www.network-europe.eu/materials.
26
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Chapter
The eastern enlargements of the European Union (EU) in 2004, 2007 and 2013 created a labor market with more than half a billion people, third only to India and China in terms of population size and matched only by the United States in economic size. Along with the free movement of capital, goods and services, the acquis communautaire, basic legislation of the EU, also legally guarantee the free movement of people within the EU’s vast internal market. Owing to these liberalizations, and despite temporary transitional arrangements applied by some old member states towards citizens from new member states (NMSs), the EU witnessed a substantial east-west movement of people in the years following the eastern enlargements. The number of citizens in the old member states from the member states that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 grew from about two million in 2004 to almost five million in 2009, signifying an increase from less than 0.5 to 1.2 % of the EU15 total population in just 5 years (Holland et al. 2011).