February 6, 2018
Guest post by Irina Pavlova, Researcher H2020-MOVE project and Sociology Lecturer at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.
Since the publication of the research-based review of the EEA Agreement in 2012 (Official Norwegian Reports NOU 2012: 2) “Outside and Inside” the status of the Norwegian relationship with the EU has been described on various occasions as an «inside outsider». However, in the area of youth mobility (f.ex. crossing borders to find work, study or volunteer), EEA agreement grants the same rules and conditions to Norway and the Norwegian youth as they do to any other EU member states and their citizens.
The latest statistics from The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) reveal that in the last 10 years 233,860 Norwegian pupils/students were mobile as a part of their further education, higher education or vocational training program. Additionally, 260,034 international young people have come to Norway for educational purposes. To sum this up, around half a million young people have been mobile in and out of Norway for educational purposes in the period 2007-2017! Keeping in mind that the current Norwegian population is approximately 5,2 million people, and that the numbers above only illustrate mobility for educational purposes, we can conclude that youth mobility research is an important area to consider for policymakers, practitioners, researchers, higher education institutions, employment marked, youth information and counselling agencies, to mention some.
In 2013 the Norwegian Government appointed their very own EU and EEA Minister to handle and promote European affairs. However, this Minister post lasted only until 17th of January this year (2018), when it was removed. As it is still early in 2018, we do not know what changes (if any) this will bring to Norway – EU relations, but two things are relatively certain: 1) Young people will continue crossing borders to find work, study, volunteer or start their own business abroad. 2) Researchers from inside and outside of EU will still cooperate together and reflect on the challenges, risks, and benefits of youth mobility, as well as emerging patterns of mobility within and outside of the EU.
Using Norway as an example it is clear that the so-called “inside outsider” is in demand of research-informed contribution to understand current mobility trends in and out of Norway, and the impact those trends have on the mobile individual and on the overall structures and institutions in our modern society. Since 2015, a team of researchers from Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania and Spain have been working with young people (aged 16 – 29) that cross borders to find work, study, volunteer, and start their own business. This research project, titled MOVE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No. 649263. The project’s main objective is to contribute to an improvement of the conditions of the young mobile in Europe and to a reduction of the negative impacts of mobility.
Some of the findings in the case of Norway are that despite young Norwegians being granted the same rules and conditions as other young Europeans through the EEA Agreement, structural inequalities are still being observed in the mobility field. There are various challenges young people experience during, under or after their mobility experience. To mention some, insufficient information flow available concerning the possibilities of going abroad prior mobility, recognition of studies or qualifications obtained abroad during or after mobility, or young people’s geographical location in the country which makes it less plausible to go abroad because of available funding or institutional support in that specific region (immobility).
For more information about the project, results, and discussions about youth mobility in Europe you can visit our website or attend MOVE Final Conference: http://move-project.eu/conference/about/presentation/
Both “insiders” and “outsiders” are very much welcome!Guest contributor