European migrant citizens and their social rights are strongly contested in British political debate. This article seeks to challenge some common concerns and perceptions regarding the exceptionality of the British welfare state and the alleged ‘costs’ to it from intra-EU migration. The article first provides a brief overview of the foundations for EU citizenship and associated social rights, highlighting the semi-sovereign nature of welfare states in the European Union. It then (i) rejects the significance of the often-claimed difference between contributory and non-contributory welfare states in the context of EU migration; and (ii) challenges concerns about the costs of EU migration. The article contrasts the experiences of Britain and Germany. It concludes by considering how concerns often associated with EU migration can be addressed by improving administrative and state capacities.
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