• Spain's news in English

EU migrants 'are a boost to local economies'

Staff reporter · 12 Feb 2014, 07:55

Published: 12 Feb 2014 07:55 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The report by the European Commission focused on cities in six EU countries - Barcelona, Lille, Hamburg, Prague, Turin and Dublin - and  looked at the impact of EU expats living there.

It concludes that the influx of migrants from other EU countries has had major economic benefits, not least in boosting state coffers.

In Turin, northern Italy, local studies revealed that tax revenues from foreigners on the whole brought a net benefit of €1.5 billion to national public finances.

The study also showed that newcomers have helped “fill gaps in local labour markets, contributed to growth in new sectors and have helped balance out ageing populations”.

Such is the case with EU mobile citizens in Barcelona (26 percent of the city’s foreign population), who the European Commission believe have made a “strong contribution to the increase in the weight of service sectors in the local economy”.

"Free movement is a benefit for Europe, its citizens and its economies. There can indeed be challenges in some cities which need to be addressed. It would, however, be the wrong response to question the right to free movement,” said Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship.

"It would, however, be the wrong response to question the right to free movement. I believe we need to work together – at European, national and local level – to turn challenges into opportunities. These examples from the cities of Barcelona, Dublin, Hamburg, Lille, Prague and Turin show that it can be done," she added.

Spain is the most favoured destination for West Europeans considering a move to another EU country with the intention of working, The Financial Times reported.

It also has one of the highest incidences of foreign nationals on the population: 5.7 million people making up 12.2 percent of the total population.

In fact, the European Commission points out that the number of foreigners in Spain more than doubled in just five years (2002-2007).

The study also sheds some light on the types of EU expats who are making the most of their freedom to move around the continent, their reasons for doing so, as well as some of the problems they face.

Story continues below…

The study shed some light on the types of EU expats who are making the most of their freedom to move around the continent, their reasons for doing so, as well as some of the problems they face.

Their main conclusions were as follows:

  • EU citizens move mainly because of job opportunities and they on average younger and more economically active than the local population.
  • The migrants are helping fill gaps in the labour market, either taking up mainly low skilled jobs, or helping to create new business ventures, like in Turin and Hamburg.
  • They are more likely to be more qualified than nationals, meaning they take up jobs below their qualification, which implies a wasting of skills.
  • EU migrants often earn less than the nationals who in the same jobs.
  • Mobile EU citizens often do not benefit from the same opportunities in terms of housing and inclusion of children in schools, despite the fact they pay the same taxes.
  • The results of the study was presented on Tuesday at a meeting of more than 100 mayors and representatives from local authorities from around Europe.

By Ben McPartland

Don't miss stories about Spain, join The Local on Facebook and Twitter.

Staff reporter (news@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available