This article presents European Union (EU) statistics on international migration, population stocks of national and foreign (non-national) citizens and data relating to the acquisition of citizenship. Migration is influenced by a combination of economic, political and social factors: either in a migrant’s country of origin (push factors) or in the country of destination (pull factors). Historically, the relative economic prosperity and political stability of the EU are thought to have exerted a considerable pull effect on immigrants.
In destination countries, international migration may be used as a tool to solve specific labour market shortages. However, migration alone will almost certainly not reverse the ongoing trend of population ageing experienced in many parts of the EU.
Main statistical findings
Immigration to the EU-27 was 1.7 million in 2012
During 2012, there were an estimated 1.7 million immigrants to the EU-27 from countries outside the EU-27. In addition, 1.7 million people previously residing in one of the EU Member States migrated to another Member State.
Thus, about 3.4 million people immigrated to one of the EU-27 Member States, while at least 2.7 million emigrants were reported to have left an EU-27 Member State. It should be noted that the two figures above do not represent the migration flows to / from the EU as a whole, since they also include flows between different EU Member States.
Germany reported the largest number of immigrants (592 200) in 2012, followed by the United Kingdom (498 000), Italy (350 800), France (327 400) and Spain (304 100). Spain reported the highest number of emigrants in 2012 (446 600), followed by the United Kingdom (321 200), France (288 300) and Poland (275 600). A total of 14 of the EU-27 Member States reported more immigration than emigration in 2012. However, in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Poland, Portugal, Romania and the three Baltic Member States, emigrants outnumbered immigrants, as they did in Croatia.