Abstract: This Introduction guides the reader through the special section "Social Integration in EU Law: Contents, Limits and Functions of an Elusive Notion". The Authors underline the multi-faceted essence of this concept, which has both an integrative potential and a defensive function. Social integration is closely connected to the enjoyment of rights: the higher the degree of integration is, the more rights a person benefits from. However, the recent practice of the European institutions and the Member States reveal that a lack of integration can be a powerful tool for managing intra-EU mobility and migrations flows from third countries.
Keywords: social integration – rights – internal market – EU citizenship – conditionality – regular migrants.