Understanding free movement and migration in the European Union
Very little coverage of EU migration
The REMINDER project undertook a massive investigation into the content of newspaper coverage of migration and intra-EU mobility in seven different EU member states from 2003 to 2017.
Overall, coverage of intra-EU mobility tends to comprise only a small part of all migration-related media discourse. The researchers found that, during this time period, on average only 4.8% of all articles relating to migration in general were concerned with intra-EU mobility in particular. However, the share varies between countries, and the topic tends to be more visible in the media of Eastern European countries compared to the countries in Western Europe. Intra-EU mobility was most present in Romanian media, where it comprised 11.2% of all migration coverage. The share was lowest in Germany and Spain, where coverage of this type of migration accounted for only 2.9% of migration-related news.
Generally, media visibility of this type of migration tends to be related to key phases of EU enlargement and transitional labour market controls (as in the period following the expansion of the EU in 2004). In the UK in particular, the visibility of intra-EU mobility sharply increased a few years before the 2016 Brexit referendum.