European citizens are still far too cautious about going to settle and work in another Member State, according to the Eurobarometer survey of September 2005, quoting a very small percentage of just 1.5% of the citizens, which is almost unchanged from figures of 30 years ago.
This despite the fact that the European Commission is stepping up its efforts to ensure that citizens established abroad have the same rights as they do in their country of origin (particularly in terms of pension mobility), stressing the importance for workers of acquiring some professional experience abroad, as part of the Lisbon objectives.
The difference of mindset from one Member State to the next is considerable: in this way, many Swedes (79%) and Danes (72%) believe that professional mobility is a positive thing, compared to percentages below 33% in Belgium, Germany, Estonia and Greece. On average, 66% of active Europeans said that they would leave their region in order to find work, a percentage which varies between 25% (Austria, Hungary and Ireland) and 50% (Luxembourg and Poland) if it is a question of actually changing countries.
The Commission has identified several factors which may prevent citizens from going and working in another Member State:
- lack of awareness of the mobility of social protection rights from one Member State to another;
- problems speaking languages other than their mother tongue;
- problems of finding adequate housing;
- difficulties related to the mobility of the family unit (most especially problems for the partner in finding employment).