Urban Implications and Governance of CEE Migration in Europe

Objectives and research questions

Central to this project was the migration of EU citizens from East-Central and Eastern Europe to Western Europe, which has in recent years developed into one of the most important forms of migration in Europe. In a first phase, the project looked at the different types of CEE migration as to duration of stay (short term, long term, seasonal work) and socioeconomic position in the receiving urban regions (working, non-working, formal, informal). The second phase dealt with the consequences of CEE migration in various domains (e.g. labour market, housing, education, welfare system, social participation) in European urban regions and the third phase with the governance approaches adopted to address these consequences from a multilevel perspective. The project looked to investigate the social repercussions that this heterogeneous incoming migration has had for urban regions and identifies how the resulting challenges are approached. The research was conducted in Austria (Vienna and Linz), the Netherlands (Rotterdam and The Hague), Sweden (Stockholm and Gothenburg) and in Turkey as a contrasting case (Istanbul and Edirne). 


Overall, CEE migration to Western European urban regions serves as an interesting empirical case study to understand the changes and continuities of migratory systems. On the one hand, historical trends of short term and long term migration seem continue in both formal and informal settings. On the other hand, CEE migration is becoming an urban phenomenon, and new types of migration, such as student or care worker migration, are becoming more visible.  

The research points to a lack of well-functioning institutional structures in the governance of migration of EU citizens in Europe, despite the increasing number of migrants. While the challenges in the areas of housing, employment, social security, and education mostly take place on the local level, the central (EU) decision-making authorities remain insufficient in bringing solutions to the local challenges. Demonstrating clearly the institutional problems in the governance of migration, this research supports future attempts for better governance of intra-EU mobility. 


Van Ostaijen, Mark, Reeger, Ursula and Karin Zelano, 2017. The commodification of mobile workers in Europe – a comparative perspective on capital and labour in Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden. Comparative Migration Studies 5/6: 1-22.

Fermin, Alfons (in cooperation with Ursula Reeger et al.), 2016. Handbook of Urban Governance of Free Movement in the EU. EUKN, The Hague.

Reeger, Ursula and Maria Luzia Enengel, 2016. Migration from Central and Eastern European EU-member countries to the Vienna urban region: Different types and recent developments. In: Jennifer Carvill Schellenbacher, Julia Dahlvik, Heinz Fassmann und Christoph Reinprecht (Hgs.). Migration und Integration – wissenschaftliche Perspektiven aus Österreich. Wien, Vienna University Press: 133-152.

Reeger, Ursula and Maria Luzia Enengel, 2016. Governance approaches to CEE migration in central domains in Austria: Vienna, Linz and the national level. IMAGINATION Working Paper. Vienna.

Reeger, Ursula and Maria Luzia Enengel, 2015. Implications of CEE migration in European urban regions. The socio-economic, socio-cultural and legal-political implications in comparison. IMAGINATION Comparative Report 2. Vienna.

Reeger, Ursula and Maria Luzia Enengel, 2015. Urban implications of CEE migration in Austrian urban regions. IMAGINATION Working Paper. Vienna.

Fassmann, Heinz, Reeger, Ursula and Maria Luzia Enengel, 2015. Implications of CEE migration in European urban regions. IMAGINATION Policy Brief 2. Vienna.

Fassmann, Heinz, Kohlbacher, Josef, Reeger, Ursula and Maria Luzia Enengel, 2014. Mapping and analysis of types of migration from CEE countries: Austria. IMAGINATION Working Paper. Vienna.

ISR-Project Team

  • Mag. Dr. Ursula Reeger (lead of the Austrian part of the project)
  • Mag. Maria Luzia Enengel 


  • Erasmus University Rotterdam, Niederlande, Peter Scholten (Projektleitung)
  • University of Gothenburg, Schweden, Karin Zelano
  • Koç University (Migration Research Center, MiReKoc) / Özyeğin University, Istanbul, Türkei, Deniz Senol Sert
  • University of Warsaw (Center of Migration Research, CMR), Warschau, Polen, Marta Kindler
  • Charles University Prague (CUNI), Tschechische Republik, Dusan Drbohlav
  • European Urban Knowledge Network, Den Haag, Niederlande, Alfons Fermin


June 2013 – May 2016


JPI (Joint Programming Initiative) Urban Europe, Österreich: BMVIT, FFG