Free Movement of Persons in Europe
Description of Free movement of persons
The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes free movement of persons in the following terms:  The free movement of persons, the second of the four freedoms enshrined in the Treaty of Rome, has ramifications well beyond the economic sphere (see more in this European encyclopedia). Initially, because it had been framed in the context of laying the foundations of the Common Market, freedom of personal movement was construed as an objective applying to workers. But with the Community’s growing integration a wider interpretation came to prevail. Various Directives established rights of residence for students and retirees, while the Court of Justice held that individual EU citizens have the right of free movement throughout the Community, provided they can show that they will not be a financial burden on the host member state (see more in this European encyclopedia). The dismantling of border controls as part of the single market programme in the late 1980s was followed by the Schengen Agreement, the 1992 Maastricht Treaty and the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam, each marking stages of a process designed ultimately to abolish all internal European frontiers.
Unlike the goals of free movement of goods, services and capital, which were directed solely at easing the operation of the Common Market, freedom of movement of persons raises fundamental sovereignty issues connected with citizenship, immigration, terrorism and organised crime (see more in this European encyclopedia). For the time being, therefore, its full accomplishment is subject to the national veto and is likely to remain a sensitive matter.
Notas y References
- Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)