This article analyses the mobility motivations of an under-studied stream of intra-European migrants, namely that of cross-border commuters between two or more European states—or ‘Euro-commuters’. Based on in-depth interviews with high-skilled, professional Euro-commuters between the Republic of Ireland and other European Union (EU) states, I ask whether Euro-commuting is a mobility strategy to mitigate the longer-term separations more conventional migrations entail. I show how this migrant group display several shared characteristics (socio-economic, class, age and occupational backgrounds) but that they are far from a homogenous social group. I outline how Euro-commuters’ migration motivations fall into three main categories: first, the ‘select’, whose motivations correlate broadly with issues to do with lifestyle; second, the ‘strivers’, whose motivations reflect aspirations primarily around social mobility; and third, the ‘survivors’, whose motivations reflect complex livelihood strategies, with Euro-commuting affording a means to earn a living, but, equally, also offsetting the threat of social demotion from the Irish middle class. The analysis presented here is significant, first, because it illuminates our understanding of this little-studied aspect of contemporary intra-European mobility. Second, and more significantly, amid intensifying intra-EU mobilities, it illustrates the inherent, vexed tensions across the EU between mobile and sedentary lives, mobilities and immobilities.
Source: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Vol. 41, Issue 2, 2015. First published online: 22 Apr 2014