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There are 17 million mobile EU citizens. We deserve a political voice

6 134 0
01.05.2019

If we were a country, we would be more populous than the Netherlands or Belgium and only slightly smaller than Romania. As such, we would be entitled to elect up to 26 members of the European parliament next month. In reality, though, we aren’t a country and have no real political representatives.

Who are we? We’re the 17 million EU citizens who live in another member state of the union (including the 3.7 million living in the UK). In the last decade we have doubled in number and today represent 4% of the EU working-age population. This may seem small in comparison with the US, where 41% of its citizens live in a state other than the one of their birth – but it is still an unprecedented figure in the history of the continent.

It reflects a growing yet unnoticed Europeanisation of our societies, further accelerated by job precarity and the fallout of the financial crisis. In addition, at least 2 million citizens commute daily across borders, and hundreds of thousands of seasonal workers move across the continent to take up low-wage jobs. Together we comprise 20 million EU citizens spread across the continent.

This geographical dispersal, engendered by decades of free movement and open borders, renders our count imperfect. Many of us don’t bother to register when changing residence and often live in an administrative limbo between countries. There’s an inherent byzantine complexity in this Europe-in-the-making. Examples range from the Romanian Uber driver in Belgium with a Spanish driving licence to the Greek doctor with........

© The Guardian