1 June 2012
The Commission has published a report on the 2011 developments in the areas of immigration and asylum, 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 union. A large majority of Europeans (67%) think it is important to be able to travel within the EU without internal border controls.
"The figures of the Report and the result of the opinion poll support the Commission's view that the European Union needs a strong and coherent migration policy, responding both to short term and long term needs. We need to effectively manage our external borders, to safeguard free movement within the EU, to provide genuine protection to those in need whilst at the same time providing channels for legal migration and mobility", said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs.
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. 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. Four in ten Europeans (42%) think the EU should encourage labour migration from non EU countries to help tackle demographic challenges and labour shortages.