ENPI/EPLM project coordinated by Martin Kahanec acclaimed in Brussels

« Back to news

ENPI/EPLM project coordinated by Martin Kahanec acclaimed in Brussels

Published on Oct. 25, 2013


Martin Kahanec delivered a speech on „EaP workers in EU Labor Markets: Unleashing potentials for mutual gains“ based on the results of EU-funded ENPI/EPLM project at the Tenth Meeting of the Eastern Partnership Platform 2: "Economic Integration and Convergence with EU Policies” in Brussels on October 24, 2013. The meeting involved representatives of the European Commission, European Union External Action, representatives of EU member states and Eastern Partnership partner countries, and other relevant institutions. The meeting participants called for wide dissemination of the project's results and key messages in order to enlighten the notoriously ill-informed migration policy debate.

About the ENPI/EPLM project:

The research project coordinated by Martin Kahanec calls for a liberalization of EU labor market access for the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. It concludes that (i) the balance of costs and benefits is positive for both sending and receiving countries; (ii) costs can be reduced, and benefits maximized, by the use of appropriate policies that facilitate mobility and integration, and that help manage the economic consequences of large remittance flows; (iii) labor migrants from the EaP countries could help the EU member states fill skills gaps as the demographic transition intensifies in Europe.

This large-scale international project included eleven country case studies and a number of background studies, including own data collection by means of field research and an online expert opinion survey. Based on the gathered evidence, the project proposes a liberalization of mobility between the EU and EaP countries as a first-best policy alternative. This should include the adoption of a visa-free travel regime, a stepped-up engagement with the EaP countries through EU-level, multilateral and bilateral mobility frameworks, expanding on the Blue Card directive. Additional measures proposed by the research team include work permit facilitation, programs for specific professions and sectors, as well as simplification and increased transparency of immigration procedures. At the same time, the EU countries should enhance their migrant integration policies, including skill transferability, recognition of social rights, reduction of informational gaps, management of public opinion, and involvement of relevant stakeholders.

The team of researchers led by Martin Kahanec (CELSI, CEU) and Klaus F. Zimmermann (IZA) also simulated future migration flows from the EaP countries under different scenarios. They estimated that the inflow would remain modest even under full liberalization of access to EU labor markets. However, more open labor markets would significantly increase GDP gains and decrease inflationary pressures while having negligible effects on unemployment.

You can download all findings, including the two key reports and the country studies . The research project was executed by a consortium involving CEU Budapest, IZA Bonn, CASE Warsaw, and LSEE London.


Newsletter sign-up

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy.