The transition from an industrial towards a post-industrial society involved a shift in global labour markets, from national economies mainly based on the manufacturing sector towards ‘global knowledge economies’, as I showed in Chapter 2. In this context, human capital is considered vital, and a fierce competition exists between countries and world regions to attract and keep the best and brightest in their labour markets.1 With this background of a ‘global competition for talent’, promoting human movement across borders has been repeatedly underlined by the European Commission. The promotion of intra-European mobility was, for example, an essential part of the Lisbon Strategy ‘to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion’ (European Parliament 2000), and is also of key importance in Europe’s new growth strategy, ‘Europe 2020’. Moreover, as I also argued in Chapter 2, higher education plays a fundamental role in European economic growth strategies. In the Prague communique (2001: 1), the European Ministers in charge of Higher Education stated, for example, that the creation of a European Higher Education Area ‘is a condition for enhancing the attractiveness and competitiveness of higher education institutions in Europe’.

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