European free movers as an emerging marriageable group: some preliminary findings
CIES CIES-ISCTE Lisbon, Portugal
In today's Europe, the internal mobility of the population seems to be associated with an increasing number of cross-national marriages. From the various groups that make up the body of mobile EU citizens, "free movers" appear to be rising as an emerging "marriageable group". These are highly skilled citizens who make a personal or professional decision to go beyond their national borders, taking advantage of the freedom of movement guaranteed by the EU. This idea that mobile well-educated individuals represent an emerging marriageable group will be here sustained to show that, throughout the EU, love ties and family relationships are one of the principal reasons for moving. "Intra-European love" therefore represents a driving force behind individual intra-EU migration and an important reason for a person's stay - at least for a period of time - in a foreign culture. The aim of this paper is to discuss this idea by presenting qualitative evidence from in-depth interviews with mixed couples of free movers living in Portugal. As I will suggest, this specific "marriageable European group" has, both at a private and public level, important consequences for EU social integration that should not be disregarded by social scientists.