EU citizens have barely made use of their right to live and work in other countries despite ongoing economic distress and stratospheric youth unemployment, according to Eurostat data released yesterday.
Out of a population of more than half a billion, just 12.8m EU citizens live in other member states – only 2.5 per cent of the population.
This is despite youth unemployment of over 50 per cent in Greece and Spain, and dismal economic prospects as expressed in business confidence and sectoral surveys.
The report also draws attention to the generally small number of immigrants in the EU, making up just 4.1 per cent of the overall population.
The data showed significant contrasts across this group: whereas just 3.9 per cent of the UK population were citizens of countries outside the EU, some 5.3 per cent of the inhabitants of Italy were, as were 5.6 per cent of German subjects and 7.2 per cent of those living in Spain.
This came as Turkey reportedly declared that it was visa-free travel with EU members it desired – rather than membership.