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Fiscal Burden

Host countries in the European Union: Are they welfare magnets for other EU citizens? (Perceptions vs. the evidence)

Klára Fóti's picture

In observance of the International Migrants Day, Dec 18
 
Even before 2004, when eight central and eastern European countries (including Poland) joined the European Union (EU), there were fears that citizens from these Member States would flood the more affluent western European countries, placing a burden on their welfare systems. With two additional central and eastern European countries—Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, and restrictions on free movement of citizens from these two countries were lifted in January 2014—the debate on “welfare tourism” has heated up further, especially considering the lingering effects of the economic crisis in Europe. The arguments voiced in the debate suggest that the “new” EU mobile citizens are attracted precisely by better-quality services and easier access to those services in the more affluent western Member States.