Zu Migration und Strukturfonds im Binnenmarkt der EU
[Migration and the Structural Funds in the Single European Market]
As stated in the preamble of the founding Treaty of the European Economic Community (EEC) of 1957, the essential goal of European integration, is to improve the living and employment situation (usually measured in terms of per-capita GDP and unemployment rate) of EU citizens. From an economic perspective, this depends on the optimal allocation of scarce resources and production factors, as well as the distribution of the income earned with and through them. According to the neoclassical economic theory, allocative efficiency and thus an achievement of a welfare maximum, and an income convergence can only succeed in a common European Single Market without barriers to production factors, goods and services. The European economic policy obviously does not belief that the European Single Market is able to achieve these goals alone. The existing economic gap between the 27 member states of the EU with its 271 regions should be actively shaped by a European regional policy (notably the Structural Funds). In comparison to other domestic markets, e.g. the U.S., where regional policy plays a subordinate role, the EU is going a different way. It is noticeable in this context, that the internal mobility of U.S. citizens, who simply leave economically weak or declining regions, is significantly higher. Therefore, this paper attempts from a purely economic point of view to answer the question in which way the allocative and distributive objectives of European integration can be better achieved by the current European regional policy or by (more) internal mobility of EU citizens like in the USA? That is why at the beginning of the paper, the effects of migration on allocation and distribution in an integrated market are studied within the context of various economic theories. At the same time these theories are the general theoretical basis for regional policy, so that we can elaborate their implications for the European Single market, too. Subsequently, the current situation concerning European internal migration and the EU Structural Funds is presented. By comparing theory, the present situation and empirical findings regarding internal migration and European regional policy, the last chapter is analyzing if there is an empirically sound connection between the European regional policies on the one hand and internal migration on the other hand in terms of achieving the allocative and distributive goals of European integration. In the end we try to answer the question whether intra-European migration is either a threat, as in the context of all previous enlargements of the EU it was often considered, or even a precondition for an improved living and employment situation of the EU-citizens facing the European integration process. The answers to this question can deliver important implications for necessary changes in the EU's regional policy and its structural funds.
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