Legislating for transnational ageing. A challenge to the logics of the welfare state
SourceEuropean Journal of Ageing, 14, 4, (2017), pp. 353-363
23 mei 2017
Article / Letter to editor
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Onderzoekcentrum voor Staat en Recht
European Journal of Ageing
SubjectCentre for Migration Law; Centrum voor Migratierecht
Transnational ageing presents fundamental challenges to nationally bounded welfare states, which historically have tended to be organised according to a logic of solidarity among nationals and permanent residents of a given state territory. Nonetheless, the Dutch and French governments have taken steps to break this link between solidarity and territorially bounded consumption of welfare, by providing lifelong income security for older migrants who return to countries of origin on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. This article asks what motivated policymakers to initially develop these novel policy tools for transnational ageing which contradict the territorial logic of the welfare state. Based on interviews with key stakeholders and available official documents, we find that in both France and the Netherlands, policymakers’ initial motivations can be characterised as rather benign, if not beneficent: to facilitate return for those who are willing but unable to afford it. However, two types of obstacle have impeded the delivery of such policies. Non-discrimination clauses and free movement rights in EU law may make it difficult to implement policies for specific categories of older migrants. Electoral realpolitik may also lead policymakers to shelve policies which benefit older migrants, in a European context where public opinion on immigration is less and less favourable. Nonetheless, opposition may be neutralised by the budgetary advantages of these schemes, since older returnees do not consume public services such as healthcare.
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