Past Event

Immigration, Intra-EU Mobility, and Sustainable economic growth

Growth & Innovation

Date: October 20, 2014, 11:30 am Topic:

Recent research demonstrates that immigration into the European Union and intra-EU mobility may promote economic growth in several ways: Bilateral trade and investment with the immigrants’ home countries tend to grow, probably because migrants facilitate communication across borders. Immigrants may supply complementary skills to current residents and help to increase residents’ productivity and income. Immigrants may also help aging European societies to age less rapidly.

Commissioner Andor discussed the growth effects of immigration and mobility in the EU and reflect on options for immigration policies at the community and member state levels that promote sustainable growth. Greg Wright highlighted recent research findings on the impact of immigration and Melissa Siegel will focused on how migrants would be affected by immigration policies that emphasize host country welfare. Finally Vit Novotný commented on what had been discussed and talked about the ongoing political discussion on improving immigration policies.

Event Materials

Event summary


László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Greg C. Wright, University of California at Merced

Melissa Siegel, United Nations University – MERIT

Vít Novotný, Senior Research Officer at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies

Chair: Guntram Wolff, Director, Bruegel

László Andor is an economist and has been Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion since 2010. He is on unpaid leave from professorial appointments at the Economics Department of Corvinus University of Budapest King Sigismund College. He was on the board of directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) from 2005 to 2010. Before that, he was involved in several research projects in the area of labour markets and European integration and was also an economic advisor to the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office, among other institutions.

Greg Wright is an Assistant Professor at the University of California at Merced and was previously Lecturer at the University of Essex from 2011 to 2013. His research deals with the labour market impact of globalization through trade and immigration. He was educated first in astrophysics (B.A., UC Berkeley 1998) and then obtained a master’s degree and Ph.D. in economics at UC Davis. His recent publications include “Immigration, Offshoring and American Jobs”, with G. Peri and G. Ottaviano, American Economic Review 2013.

Melissa Siegel is an Associate Professor and Head of Migration Studies at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance and UNU-MERIT. She heads the Migration and Development research group of UNU-MERIT and the Migration and Development research theme of the Maastricht Center for Citizenship, Migration and Development (MACIMIDE). She has headed research projects on migration and development in countries ranging from Surinam to Afghanistan and is also regularly involved in migration-related trainings for national governments and international organizations.

Vít Novotný is a senior research officer at the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies. In charge of research cooperation with the Centre’s member foundations, he has edited the volumes From Reform to Growth: Managing the Economic crisis in Europe (2013) and Opening the Door? Immigration and Integration in the European Union (2012). These books create European centre-right policy narratives in their fields. Vít Novotný is also responsible for research clusters on ethics, values and religion and new societal challenges. He has previous experience working in the education, private, public and non-profit sectors in the UK (2004-10). His education includes postgraduate degrees in clinical pharmacy, European studies, public administration and politics from universities in Czechia, the US and the UK. He has published widely on politics and current issues in Czech and English-language press.


This event was held in the framework of the project Europe’s Global Linkages and the Impact of the Financial Crisis. This project was led by IAW and the other partners are: Tübingen University, Institut für Weltwirtschaft, Fondazione Enrio Mattei, FEEM, Keio University, Maastricht University, University of California Davis and researchers from China. The VW foundation supports this project within its program “Europe and Global Challenges