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Bordering Labor Migration from New EU Member States: Socio-Spatial Exclusion and the 'Orderly' Geometrics of Migration Forecasts

Roos Pijpers


The enlargement process of the European Union has resulted in a numerous series of migration forecasts, carried out from the late 1990s through the actual accession of ten new member states in May 2004. In the years and months prior to enlargement, national governments in most "old" member states, driven by fears of mass inflows of workers from new member states, consecutively decided to restrict east-west migration for a period of at least two years. In all cases, decision-making processes were informed by migration forecasts. This paper aims to scrutinize subjacent motivations of making and subsequently justifying policy on the basis of migration forecasts. Drawing on literature on the role of aesthetic order in model-based migration forecasts and their sub-structuring framework of neo-classical equilibrium theory, it will be argued that the "tangible" numbers produced by these studies provide a certain rationale for order-enhancing and fear-decreasing bordering policies of the kind currently taking place in the European Union. Methods, outcomes and policy influences of migration forecasts address and portray a latent desire to retain borders in the EU's formally borderless member states.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229