Public Perception of EU migrants and Their Rights: Citizens or Foreigners?

Philipp Lutz (Researcher, University of Bern)

Nora Ratzmann (SPS Max Weber Fellow)

5 December 2018, 17:00-19:00, Sala del Capitolo, Badia Fiesolana

Loved and feared: Citizens’ attitudinal ambivalence towards free movement in the European Union

Public opinion towards free movement is characterized by a paradox: On the one hand, European citizens perceive border-free Europe as the most important achievement of European integration; on the other hand, the mobility of EU citizens has become a main driver for euroscepticism in many European countries. How to explain these contradicting observations? In this article, I argue that free movement creates an attitudinal trade-off for citizens between their own citizenship-rights and the citizenship rights of perceived ‘others’. The paper assesses the ambivalence of citizens’ attitudes towards free movement and tests the postulated hypothesis with cross-country observational data and a survey experiment in 28 EU countries. The empirical findings suggest that public attitudes toward a border-free Europe are systematically ambivalent due to a tension between the value of the own mobility rights and the fear of immigration from other EU countries.

Politics of welfare belonging at street-level:  The practice of EU migrants’ entitlements in German jobcentres

By lifting the veil on the black box of administration, this research explores the understudied (in)equalities of access and treatment embedded within the daily practice of implementing migrants’ legal entitlements to basic social security in German jobcentres, within an EU comparative perspective. The analysis draws on a wealth of 118 qualitative interviews with jobcentre employees, migrant claimants and welfare support and advisory organisations, as well as participant observation in three Berlin-based jobcentres.

The nexus between deservingness judgements, and belonging as proxy the often complex and intersecting linkages of socio-economic background, (national) citizenship in decision-making processes during policy implementation has remained undertheorized in existing street-level implementation scholarship. The novelty lies in exploring how such understandings of welfare belonging are articulated and negotiated at the local level and how they impact rationing of public benefits and services. Particular attention is placed on the analysis of the interplay between frontline bureaucrats as gate-keepers of access, who interpret and potentially subvert eligibility criteria, and potential EU migrant applicants who engage or not in the process of claim-making. The analysis offers insights into street-level bureaucrats’ perceptions of deservingness and their associated styles of claims processing.

Benoit Vaillot

Doctorant en histoire (EHESS, Paris) / Arche EA 3400 (Université de Strasbourg). PhD Researcher (European University Institute, Florence). Coordinateur du séminaire doctoral « Nationalism Working Group » hébergé à l'Institut Universitaire Européen.

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