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The fourth freedom. Theories of migration and mobilities in ‘neo-liberal’ Europe

Abstract : The article challenges the orthodoxy of current critical readings of the European crisis that discuss the failings of the EU in terms of the triumph of ‘neo-liberalism’. Defending instead a liberal view on international migration, which stresses the potentially positive economic, political and cultural benefits of market-driven forces enabling movements across borders, it details the various ways in which European regional integration has enabled the withdrawal of state control and restriction on certain forms of external and internal migration. This implementation of liberal ideas on the freedom of movement of persons has largely been of benefit to migrants, and both receiving and sending societies alike. These ideas are now threatened by democratic retrenchment. It is Britain, often held up as a negative example of ‘neo-liberalism’, which has proven to be the member state that most fulfils the EU’s core adherence to principles of mobile, open, non-discriminatory labour markets. On this question, and despite its current anti-immigration politics, it offers a positive example of how Europe as a whole could benefit from more not less liberalization.
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Adrian Favell. The fourth freedom. Theories of migration and mobilities in ‘neo-liberal’ Europe. European Journal of Social Theory, SAGE Publications, 2014, 17 (2), pp.1 - 15. ⟨10.1177/1368431014530926⟩. ⟨hal-03399342⟩



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