Between the East and the West: Mobility and Migration from the EU´s Eastern Partners

22-04-2016

The Eastern Partners were among the first countries to launch mobility dialogues with the EU. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have also engaged in a process of visa liberalisation, which has been completed in the Republic of Moldova and is in its final stages in Georgia and Ukraine. In addition, the Association Agreements with these countries include provisions, which will be applicable from 2017 for the temporary presence – up to two years – of natural persons in EU Member States. Notwithstanding the influence of these mobility-fostering legal provisions, legal migration from Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine is concentrated in certain Member States as a result of economic opportunities or linguistic ties. However, with the exception of Moldova, the number of migrants from the countries in question is generally smaller in Member States than in the Russian Federation, where specific legal provisions favour internal migration from members of the Eurasian Economic Union (Belarus and Armenia), and to a lesser extent from members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (Moldova and Ukraine) and Georgia. The countries of origin of those large numbers of migrant workers receive a substantial boost to their economies through personal remittances. This precious source of capital has declined recently, however, owing to falling oil prices and, to a lesser extent, to economic sanctions affecting Russia. Personal remittances from the EU are showing a similar trend, with the exception, again, of Moldova.

The Eastern Partners were among the first countries to launch mobility dialogues with the EU. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have also engaged in a process of visa liberalisation, which has been completed in the Republic of Moldova and is in its final stages in Georgia and Ukraine. In addition, the Association Agreements with these countries include provisions, which will be applicable from 2017 for the temporary presence – up to two years – of natural persons in EU Member States. Notwithstanding the influence of these mobility-fostering legal provisions, legal migration from Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine is concentrated in certain Member States as a result of economic opportunities or linguistic ties. However, with the exception of Moldova, the number of migrants from the countries in question is generally smaller in Member States than in the Russian Federation, where specific legal provisions favour internal migration from members of the Eurasian Economic Union (Belarus and Armenia), and to a lesser extent from members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (Moldova and Ukraine) and Georgia. The countries of origin of those large numbers of migrant workers receive a substantial boost to their economies through personal remittances. This precious source of capital has declined recently, however, owing to falling oil prices and, to a lesser extent, to economic sanctions affecting Russia. Personal remittances from the EU are showing a similar trend, with the exception, again, of Moldova.