Understanding free movement and migration in the European Union
German v English in Slovakia
It is not only migration policies — or even economic or welfare policies — that can shape patterns of mobility. For example, REMINDER researchers highlighted that changes in language teaching in Slovakian schools in the late 1990s may have had a significant impact on cross-border commuting between Slovakia and Austria.
German was taught as a compulsory language in Slovakia until the end of the 1990s, but by the early 2000s this was replaced by English. As a result, Slovakians over the age of 35 are more likely to speak German, which eases their access to the Austrian labour market. A decline in interest in commuting to Austria from Slovakia may be related to fewer German speakers among younger people.