In June 1985, European leaders met in the town of Schengen in Luxembourg. They agreed to gradually relax border controls between their countries. Today the Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries that have abolished passport checks and other types of control at their common borders. However, the path-breaking agreement has come under pressure recently.
In an op-ed for the daily Luxemburger Wort, IZA Director Klaus F. Zimmermann warns not to erode the core principle of free movement in Europe: “We don’t have too much, but too little cross-border mobility in the EU.” Still, people tend to overestimate the economic threat and overlook the economic benefits of immigration. Rather than trying to turn back the wheel of history, Europe should work towards closer integration and harmonization in various fields – from tax law to recognizing professional qualifications.
Following an IZA initiative about a year ago, leading European labor economists had urged policymakers to strengthen labor mobility within the EU and adopt a European Charter for Migration.