EUROPEAN MIGRATION NETWORK (15240/05)
Letter from the Chairman to Tony McNulty
MP, Minister of State, Home Office
Sub-Committee F (Home Affairs) of the House
of Lords Select Committee on the European Union considered this
Green Paper at a meeting on 25 January. We decided to clear the
document from scrutiny.
Paragraph 5.2 of the Green Paper mentions the
importance of overcoming obstacles to the comparability of data.
It is plainly desirable to have in the different Member States
data which are collected, stored and retrievable in ways which
are identical, or at least sufficiently similar for them to be
scientifically analysed and compared. We wondered why this was
not possible without an EU initiative. Could this not be done
simply by agreement between the Member States? If an EU initiative
does make this easier, does it really have to wait for the next
stage of this project? We would have expected this to be one of
the first tasks of the pilot project. We would be glad to have
your comments on this.
26 January 2006
Letter from Tony McNulty MP to the Chairman
Thank you for your letter of 26 January.
Paragraph 5.2 of the Green Paper on the future
of the EMN mentions the importance of overcoming obstacles to
the comparability of data within the EU. As you rightly say, it
is desirable for Member States to provide comparable data on migration,
and a number of initiatives are underway to take this forward.
One of the current activities of the EMN is
to carry out EU comparison research studies in a number of different
migration and asylum related topics. The output of these research
studies is a synthesis report which is based on information drawn
from individual country reports produced by EU Member States.
Statistical data is often part of the information used in these
synthesis reports and so far the research studies have helped
in highlighting difficulties in data comparison. However the Explanatory
Memorandum on EMN mentions that we need to ensure that there is
no overlap between EMN and other EU data comparison work.
Statistical data on international migration
and asylum are not at present available in some EU countries.
Available data are often unreliable mainly due to under-coverage.
Data that may be considered reliable are not necessarily comparable
at EU level because of variety of used data sources, definitions
Since the Tampere meeting in 1999, the need
for better statistics has been clearly emphasised in official
EU documents, with the aim of supporting European policy on migration
and international protection. A proposal to introduce an EU regulation
for data collection in the field of migration and international
protection was adopted in September 2005 by the EU Commission
and is now under discussion in the EU Council and EU Parliament
(Explanatory Memorandum attached) (not printed). The regulation
is likely to go through at least one more draft, and although
harmonisation is sought for outputs, the extent to which the figures
will be fully comparable, will depend on the extent to which administrative
systems become harmonised in the Member States over time.
The THESIM (Towards Harmonised European Statistics
on International Migration) project under the 6th Framework Programme
aimed to support the implementation of this forthcoming EU regulation.
Between April 2004 and August THESIM meetings were held in all
EU countries with ministries involved in the registration or collection
of data on international migration and asylum.
After adoption by both EU institutions the statistics
regulation will require all EU Member States to produce annually
a full set of statistics on international migration and asylum,
beginning in 2007. It will explicitly request reliable figures
and metadata in order to make clear how far the provided data
may be considered as comparable at EU level.
15 February 2006