European Commission publishes report and survey on 2011 developments in migration, asylum and free movement in the EU

The report, published on 1st June 2012, covered the 2011 developments in the areas of immigration and asylum. The report was accompanied by a Eurobarometer on European citizens’ attitudes towards cross-border mobility, migration and security.

According to the survey, 8 out of 10 Europeans agree that EU Member States should offer protection and asylum to those in need and that rules for admitting asylum seekers should be the same across the EU. A large majority of Europeans (67%) think it is important to be able to travel within the EU without internal border controls.

Here are some highlights of the report and of the Eurobarometer (EB):

  • Legal migration
    REPORT: There are some 20.2 million third-country nationals in the EU, around 4% of the total EU population (502.5 million) and 9.4% of the estimated 214 million migrants worldwide.
    EB: 68% of the poll thinks that legal immigrants should have the same rights as their own national citizens. Four in ten Europeans (42%) think the EU should encourage labour migration from non EU countries to help tackle demographic challenges and labour shortages, with 46% disagreeing.
  • Irregular migration
    REPORT: In 2011, some 343 000 persons were refused entry to the EU, a decrease of 13% from 2010. Also in 2011, some 468 500 persons were apprehended (a decrease from 2010 when it was about 505 000) and Member States returned around 190 000 third-country nationals (15% less than in 2010).
    EB: Eight Europeans in ten (80%) think that the EU should increase its assistance to Member States to handle irregular migration. 78% think that the cost of handling irregular migration should be shared among EU Member States.
  • Integration
    REPORT: in 2010, the average employment rate of third-country nationals aged 20-64 was 58.5%, compared to 68.6% of the total population aged 20-64.
    EB: 53% of the poll thinks that immigration enriches EU countries economically and culturally. 60% of the Europeans believe immigrants may face integration difficulties because of discrimination.
  • Asylum
    REPORT: In 2011 EU Member States recorded just over 302 000 asylum applications, a significant increase of 16.2% compared to 2010. This remains however far below the peak of 425 000 applications received in 2001.
    EB: 80% of the poll thinks that EU Member States should offer protection and asylum to those in need. Eight Europeans in ten think that the number of asylum seekers should be more equally shared among EU Member States.
  • Schengen and free movement
    REPORT: Some 12.7 million Schengen visas were issued in 2011, the majority in the Russian Federation (40.7%), followed by the Ukraine (8.7%), China (8.1%) and Turkey (4.7%)
    EB: Just fewer than six in ten respondents (57%) agree that it should be easier for non EU citizens to travel to the EU for tourism or business. The possibility to travel within the EU without internal border controls is important for 67% of the respondents.

The full report can be found here.

The commission Staff Working Document accompanying the report can be found here.

The Eurobarometer report ‘Awareness of Home Affairs’ can be found here.