Regional social integration and free movement across borders: the role of social policy in enabling and preventing access to social entitlements by cross-border movers. Europe and Southern Africa compared
Social policies are central to regional social integration. This article addresses this with the European Union (EU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It considers the part that access to social security, social assistance, health and education services play in facilitating free movement within regions. The article shows that in the EU the formal reality of free movement is substantially curtailed by problems with the portability of and access to social benefits. In SADC migrants' access to social protection and social services show remarkable similarity to the EU. Access to social assistance is missing in both regions for some movers. Given the symbolic nature of the “no recourse to public funds for migrants” mantra of national social policies in both regions the article concludes that a policy and funding response at the regional or even global level is required if regional social integration is to be enhanced through social policy.