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Beyond l’Auberge Espagnole: The Effect of Individual Mobility on the Formation of Intra-European Couples

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Schroedter Julia H., De Winter Tom, Koelet Suzana,
Project Binationale Ehen als Indikator für die Entstehung einer europäischen Gesellschaft
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal European Journal of Population
Volume (Issue) 31(2)
Page(s) 181 - 206
Title of proceedings European Journal of Population
DOI 10.1007/s10680-015-9343-3


This paper focuses on intra-European partnership formation in three European countries: Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Intra‐European mobility has been actively promoted and stimulated by the European Commission (e.g., free movement of persons, the Erasmus student exchange program). One of the reasons for this promotion is that exchanges and relationships between Europeans of different descent are seen as a core indicator of the success of the European project. In this paper, we address the question to what extent intra-European mobility fosters partnerships between Europeans of different descent. Intra-European mobility can create opportunities both to meet partners from other European countries and to accumulate the necessary capital (economic, cultural, linguistic, mobility) to engage in a relationship with a foreign European. We use original data on European (binational) couples, collected in 2012 in the three countries (EUMARR survey), to study the choice of native men and women to engage in a relationship with either a foreign-born European partner or a partner from the own native country. We apply a broader life course perspective that captures migration and mobility experiences prior to the relationship as causal antecedents leading to an intra-European partnership. Results based on logistic regression models suggest that there is an individual effect of long stays abroad and short mobility experiences in (early) adulthood on having an intra-European partner (in comparison with a native partner).