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How can we measure migration in Europe?

Press release issued: 24 March 2006

Do we have accurate data on migration in Europe? Are they comparable with UK statistics? Are they reliable? These and other important questions are raised by the Towards Harmonised European Statistics on International Migration (THESIM) project.

Do we have accurate data on migration in Europe?  Are they comparable with UK statistics?  Are they reliable?  How can we understand them better?  How can we improve policy-making in that domain?  These and other important questions are raised by the Towards Harmonised European Statistics on International Migration (THESIM) project, which will present its key findings in Brussels on Thursday 30 March.

The research findings have been published in a book, edited by Ann Singleton of the University of Bristol with Professor Michael Poulain and Nicolas Perrin of the University of Louvain-la-Neuve (UCL), Belgium.

THESIM compares statistical sources on international migration and asylum in the EU’s 25 Member States.  It makes available up-to-date and comprehensive information on the systems which produce migration statistics for every Member State of the European Union.  This keenly-awaited report, though geared towards the needs of specialists, also gives the wider public access to information on the question of migration, which is of ever increasing importance to society.

The European Union faces an urgent need for better statistics on migration and asylum to support the development of a common EU migration policy.  The forthcoming EU Regulation on migration and international protection statistics, for which Ann Singleton was responsible, (as policy officer in the European Commission, Directorate-General for Justice and Home Affairs), has been approved within the Council of Ministers and will be voted on by the European Parliament. It is the first EU-wide legal instrument to provide a basis for improving the availability, reliability and comparability of statistical data collection in the field of migration and asylum.

Within the EU's 6th Framework Programme for Research, the THESIM project was selected in order to support the implementation of this regulation and to help individual countries to fulfil their task in relation to the regulation.  The project started in April 2004 and ended in August 2005.  It involved seven different scientific teams from seven different EU countries under the co-ordination of Professor Poulain.

Ann Singleton is a Senior Research Fellow in Bristol University’s School for Policy Studies.  Ann was also responsible for the first public annual report on asylum and migration in the EU and is now preparing the public report on asylum in the EU.  In the School for Policy Studies, she is the director of a Unit on Migration, Asylum and Human Rights on the MSc in Public Policy.

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