Membership and migration: market citizenship or European citizenship?
The social dimension of the European Union (EU) raises a normative conflict over the principles that should govern non-citizens’ access to national systems of social protection. A European Community (EC) law on the free movement of workers has developed since the 1960s. The politicians who sought to create a common European market were concerned that national systems of social protection might hamper the mobility of workers across borders, e.g. because such movement could lead to a loss of benefit rights (Van der Mei 2003: 62-3). In the early 1970s the European Council adopted two regulations aimed at promoting freedom of movement by co-ordinating national systems of social benefits (called ‘social security’ in the EU). Regulations Nos. 1408/71 and 574/72 essentially established the principle that the country in which the person had worked was responsible for his or her acquired rights to social benefits.