In this Issue

AuthorAgustín José Menéndez
Date01 July 2017
Published date01 July 2017
Freedom of movement, very particularly freedom to travel and cross (what once were) national borders, tends to be
regarded as a key pillar of the legitimacy of the European Union. Paraphrasing the old saying, free movement is said
to broaden the mind of European citizens. Indeed, at a time when European integration is severely contested, and
the promise of better social standards is part of the past, a good number of Europeans find that free movement is
the one tangible benefit they derive from the Union. Still, the financial and fiscal crises, on the one hand, and the
refugee crises, on the other hand, have revealed the limits of free movement, European style. From the false uni-
versalism of paeans to a borderless Europe (as if the external borders of the Schengen area were not borders) to
the very different meanings that free movement has depending on income, wealth, social class and level of studies,
it is hard to make it fit into one single concept, representing very different realities.
Medland focuses our attention on the growing asymmetry between the status of highly valuablemigrants and
lowskilled nonnationals. While the article is rich in theoretical insights, it is the result of an empirical study of the
socioeconomic context in which socalled seasonal workers find themselves in El Ejido, a relatively small region in
the south of Spain, where a disproportionate number of the fresh vegetables sold in European supermarkets are
produced. Medland shows that not only does European law offer seasonal workers a much weaker level of
protection than it does to other migrants (the comparison being especially relevant with blue cardmigrants), but
also that the Directive is grounded on several false premises, including the seasonal character of agricultural
production (which no longer corresponds to actual facts). The anthropological study of El Ejido thus throws very
interesting light on the fabric of European law, and raises questions regarding the distributive and redistributive
impact of European legislation, illfitted to steer society.
Kramer, in his article, asks what conception or imageof the person has underpinned European Union law since
its inception. On the basis of a systematic reconstruction of the legislation and the case law, the author notes that a
marked shift can be observed. The Community law of the first European transformationfocused on the worker as the
relatively passive beneficiary of rights and institutional structures that enabled him to engage in mobility. From the
single market big bang and the creation of the existing monetary infrastructure, Kramer argues that the worker has
been replaced by the image of the individual as active bearer of economic capabilities, depositary (and nurturer) of
human capitalin brief, by the selfentrepreneur, the activeeconomic citizen. In such a light, the Dano,Alimovic
and García Nieto rulings are not exceptions to the rule, but rather the core decisions in which the new persona of
European law comes to the fore.
It is hard to contest that courts are a central player in the process of European integration. If the pioneering
continentalsthat engaged with Community law were still inclined to expect the European legislator to pull all the
punches (originally, the duo made up of the European Commission and the Council of Ministers), by the 1970s the
case law of the European Court of Justice had become the crucial source of Community law in the eyes of most
European jurists, and not of interdisciplinarians from the other side of the Atlantic. A further signal of the
judicialisation of politics in Europe is the rise of (some) national constitutional courts as the most effective counter-
weight to the Luxembourg judges. Dani and Wilkinson revisit this special relationship, which only some years ago
was fashionable to characterise as crossfertilising dialogue, but which the ongoing crises have reminded us can
indeed be extremely conflictprone.
DOI: 10.1111/eulj.12256
154 © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Eur Law J. 2017;

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