REMINDER project launches new interactive online tool

Published 30 January 2020 / By COMPAS Communications

Back to Articles

New research explains why free movement is generally popular around the EU, but UK media and public attitudes are so different

A new interactive tool allowing anyone to investigate how free movement has affected the economies and societies of Europe has been launched today, by the REMINDER project - a consortium of 14 leading European universities and research organisations.

The web-tool Understanding Free Movement and Migration in the European Union provides accessible explanations of thousands of pages of research. It shows that immigration from one EU country to another generates more tax revenue than it costs for governments in most instances, but that aggressive anti-migration narratives in a nation’s media or welfare states that are perceived to lack ‘reciprocity’ can create more negative public attitudes to free movement – both factors that may have contributed to the UK’s departure from the EU.

The REMINDER project, led by the University of Oxford in consortium with 13 other universities and research organisations, looked at both the social and economic consequences of intra-EU migration and how the issue was dealt with in media and public debates. The project considered what impact these factors had on public opinion in different countries and the implications for policy.

The web-tool provides short summaries of some to the project’s key findings, and shows how different seemingly unrelated factors within migration debates may affect each other – for example, public attitudes to free movement tend to be more positive in environments such as those in France, Germany and the Netherlands where migrants are expected to make contributions into the welfare state before they can benefit from it.

Importantly, the new tool allows the user to navigate through the findings following a “choose your own adventure” style path – which highlights the links and connections between a diverse range of issues.

Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, from the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society at the University of Oxford in the UK was the principle investigator of the project. He said:

“To understand migration in Europe, you need to see how different elements of the debate are linked to one another: How the media affects politics, which affects welfare systems, which affects migration flows, which affects economies and so on. The REMINDER project has spent three years putting together a comprehensive analysis of these interactions, and our new web-tool allows non-specialists to examine this network of impacts too, and really start to understand how different policy choices shape the migration landscapes of Europe.”

REMINDER was funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme and was coordinated by researchers from the University of Oxford (UK) but undertaken by researchers from 14 institutions in 9 countries across Europe (see list in “About the REMINDER project” below).

Dr Vargas-Silva added:

“This research and the new interactive tool we have developed can help anyone interested in migration – from policymakers and journalists to anyone who cares about the issue, whatever their political perspective, to make sense of the sometimes byzantine complexity of one of the most important policy issues of the day.”


For further information contact:

Rob McNeil, Head of Media and Communications - Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford.

Tel: 01865 274568
Mob: 07500 970081


Notes for editors:

Understanding Free Movement and Migration in the European Union – the new web-tool for navigating the REMINDER project can be accessed at

The full suite of research and analysis is available at:

Work packages (WP) for the project covered the following topics:

  • WP2 – Mapping migration
  • WP3 – Determinants of migration
  • WP4 – Fiscal impacts
  • WP5 – Labour market / public service impacts
  • WP6 – Countries of origin
  • WP7 – Politics and institutions
  • WP8 – Mapping discourse
  • WP9 – Public opinion survey
  • WP10 – Drivers of opinions and norms
  • WP11 – Media practices
  • WP12 – Policies and cost-sharing


About the REMINDER project:

  • REMINDER (Role of European Mobility and it’s Impacts in Narratives, Debates and EU Reforms) brings a multidisciplinary approach to understanding free movement in Europe. A consortium of 14 organisations, the project combines expertise from different fields including: development, economics, linguistics, media studies, political science and public policy.
  • Participating research organisations included: University of Oxford (UK); Budapest Business School (Hungary); European Journalism Centre (Netherlands/international); Uppsala University (Sweden); Universitat Pompeu Fabra and University of Barcelona (Spain): International Centre for Migration Policy Development (Austria/international); University of Vienna (Austria); Maastricht University (Netherlands); Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz (Germany); Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Spain); University of Gothenburg (Sweden); Migration Policy Institute Europe (Belgium); European University Institute (Italy)
  • The project has two components:
  1. The social and economic impacts of intra-EU mobility
  2. Understanding political and media narratives about intra-EU mobility