3.2. Net migration
Since 2015, the Basque Country’s migration balance has been positive, reaching levels slightly above the European average
Net migration is included as an intermediate performance indicator because a competitive territory creates jobs that attract more people than the number of those who leave it, although there are exceptional socio-political factors which may distort the territory’s pull effect in its migration balance. Thus, for example, many regions of Greece and Southern Italy are reporting very high migration balances as a result of restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons which are being established within the EU for socio-political reasons. If these restrictions didn’t exist, those immigrants would leave for other countries. In Table 5 we can see that the Basque Country ranks in the middle among the European regions as a whole and that the majority of the comparable regions have more favourable migration balances. Gráfico 5 shows the trend for this indicator, which in the Basque Country fell during the early years of the crisis, becoming negative only after 2012 and bottoming out in 2013. After that point, it began to climb again, returning to positive numbers in 2015. Trends in other territories have varied, but in the last two years for those regions that have available data (2016 and 2017), the migration balances of all the territories under consideration were closer, with the Basque Country and Spain reporting slightly higher values than the European average and lower than Germany.
In previous competitiveness reports, we saw that in the early years the migration balance was negative, in part due to people originating from the Basque Country moving abroad and in part because of the foreign population returning to their countries of origin. However, the overall balance remained positive because more people arrived from the rest of Spain than those who moved there.