The development, implementation and monitoring of a common European asylum and immigration policy requires a system of statistical information exchange of optimum quality on migration flows and asylum in the EU. However, these data are not always available and do not necessarily consider need for policy development.
The lack of harmonised data is unfortunately not the only obstacle to the production of comparable statistics on international migration. The reliability of the data collection process is also open to question. Regardless of the type of criteria used, the completeness of the data gathered varies considerably from country to country, and it is not unusual for the registration of emigration, for example, to cover only one emigrant out of two, not to say one out of ten.
It is clear that more initiatives have to be developed in order to improve data collection and harmonisation of international migration statistics to provide reliable basic information and this is particularly important in the framework of European migration policy and more specifically at the time of enlargement of the EU to 10 candidate countries.
The THESIM team organised 25 national meetings and through these meetings prepared 25 country reports on the national situation, as far as data collection on international migration, asylum, residence permits, citizenship and the so-called data collection of data suppliers and policy makers 'CIREFI' is concerned. These meetings were organised with help of all statistical offices and the NCPs (National Contact Points) of the EMN (European Migration Network). All ministries and administrations involved in the field took part, those involved in legislation, in practical procedures or in data collection. Progress towards implementation of the forthcoming EU Regulation on statistics was the objective of both national meetings and national reports.
The THESIM project represents a step forward in practice from the dismal and dispiriting task of documenting the problems with with migration and asylum data. It is an example of how the academic community, national officials and EU policy makers can develop strong collaborative working links and take action to improve the current situation. The final report of the project, submitted to the European Commission in October 2005, and the THESIM book published in February 2006 represent real progress, not least because in addition to bringing together data suppliers and users at the national and EU level, it has also involved the creation of a strong international network of key academic experts on migration statistics in the EU.
The THESIM book brings together a comprehensive set of overview reports including: the history of international attempts to improve migration statistics; 25 country reports, each of which documents in detail the national sources of international migration data, related administrative procedures and registration systems in each of the Member States of the European Union and the national systems for producing statistical data on migration. The information covers all identifiable aspects of the system in each country and assesses the capacity of the national system to produce statistics which will meet the requirements of the forthcoming EU Regulation on migration statistics. Most importantly, it identifies for each country, for all data types covered by the Regulation, the data sources which can meet the legislation’s requirements and those which have the potential to do so. The project team carried out an impressive task in little over a year, completing a substantial amount of intensive work in all countries. The final report and the book will be invaluable tools to help national officials and the European Commission implement the Regulation and any subsequent implementing measures. It will provide up-to-date information for national and EU officials in Eurostat and in the Directorate General Freedom, Security and Justice, for the European Migration Network and for lawyers, academics and NGOs working in the field of migration and asylum.
| contact : Christine Guilbault | 25/01/2007 |