Introduction The aim of this contribution is to shed light on the motivations, the strategies and the discourses of the European institutions about migrants and, moreover, it seeks to address the evolving challenge of integrating successive waves of immigrants arriving from candidate countries, from new member states, as well as from African and Asian countries.1 More particularly, this chapter shows the reaction of the European institutions regarding the influx of migrants from the Italian Mezzogiorno, the Iberian peninsula and Eastern Europe during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. It also examines the influence of the institutional and reconversion challenges posed by the Southern enlargement of the EEC in the 1980s. Furthermore, it analyses the socioeconomic implications of the political decision to go ahead with an East-West “reunification” of the continent via the Eastward enlargement of the EU that started in the early 1990s. The main sources adopted for this study are the Historical Archives of the European Commission relating to the High Authority of the ECSC, the Historical Archives of the EU (HAEU), the governmental archives concerning some of the European countries studied here (such as Spain and Germany), the Archives of the DG Enlargement of the European Commission, amongst others.2 These sources help to throw light on the causal relation between the evolving position of the European institution with regard to this issue, and allow us to understand the reactions and proposals of the major players and the ensuing decision to channel migration vectors. The sources also include a set of interviews with those who occupy positions of power within the European institutions and within their respective governments, the European institutions and on the topic of the risks, the opportunities and the conclusions reached in relation to the synchronized enlargements and the correlated EEC/EU migration processes from the 1980s onwards. This chapter also takes into consideration published works relating to the phenomena of emigration towards the richest countries of the EEC. This enables us to show how the European institutions have attempted to address the social and economic challenges linked to the successive arrival of intra-European migrants
and third country nationals. It shows that the approaches and rules of the European institutions varied in relation to the migrants’ country (and whether or not they belonged to the EEC) on the one hand, and their professional skills on the other (level of instruction and job specialization). This chapter also analyses the experience of socialization of migrants during the 1980s and 1990s at the European level and explores the extent to which different contingents helped to disseminate a socio-political spillover effect in the communities of the migrants; an effect that contributed to the opening up of new democratic political cultures in the countries to which they returned and that had experienced dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. So, it underlines the effects of migrants on the political and diplomatic agenda of the host countries and on the relation between the EEC/EU and successive candidate countries. Furthermore, this chapter looks into the actual economic impact that migrants have had on the internal development of their native countries; it draws attention to the significance of migrant remittances and the specific professional qualifications that former immigrants have acquired. Finally, the chapter reflects upon the integration schemes affecting former and current European migrants’ integration, highlighting ways in which good practices can be applied to the new present challenges that involve the migration waves still taking place in our continent, and emphasizes the salience of one of the fundamental principles of the European integration process: solidarity and its related cohesion expectations and compromises.