The Baltic Region

2016 Issue №3

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Geography of European Migration



In recent decades, the role of international migration has increased dramatically in most European countries. The growth in migration has made some authors proclaim the beginning of a second Migration Period that could transform the social and cultural identity of Europe. The article presents an analysis of international migration geography in Europe in the last twenty-five years. The authors identify the main trends in migration, provide migration profiles of European countries, and propose a classification based on the recent changes in the migrant stock. Changes in the migrant stock (total emigration and immigration) reflect the level of involvement in international and global processes. They can serve as an indicator of a country’s attractiveness for both foreigners and the country’s citizens. The study shows that European countries are increasingly split into ‘immigrant’ and ‘emigrant’ states. The authors describe spatial patterns of migration. The volume and localisation of migration flows in Europe are affected not only by cultural and historical circumstance, such as a colonial past or a common language. The scale of immigrant influx often does not depend on a donor country’s demographic potential or the level of its socio-economic development. The links between the place of origin and destination are often more complex than it might initially seem. The authors stress the importance of a differentiated immigration policy taking into account ethnic and cultural features of host societies.


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