The right to free movement is the one privilege that EU citizens value the most in the Union, but one that has also created much political controversy in recent years, as the debates preceding the 2016 Brexit referendum aptly illustrate. This book examines how European politicians have justified and criticized free movement from the commencement of the first Commission of the EU-25 in November 2004 to the Brexit referendum in June 2016. The analysis takes into account the discourses of Heads of State, Governments and Ministers of the Interior (or Home Secretaries) of six major European states: the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Romania. In addition to these national leaders, the speeches of European Commissioners responsible for free movement matters are also considered.
The book introduces a new conceptual framework for analysing practical reasoning in political discourses and applies it in the analysis of national free movement debates contextualised in respective migration histories. In addition to results related to political discourses, the study unearths wider problems related to free movement, including the diversified and variegated approaches towards different groups of movers as well as the exclusive attitudes apparent in both discourses and policies.
The History and Politics of Free Movement within the European Union is of interest to anyone studying national and European politics and ideologies, contemporary history, migration policies and political argumentation.