Important legal notice
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Migration - Learning about people on the move
“ To provide an overview of migration activity to, from and within the EU, and actionable recommendations to policy-makers based on a harmonised view consistent with UN standards.”

The problem

With brain gains, brain drains, and asylum seekers high on the political agenda, migration is a key issue for the European Union. However, despite continuous efforts since the 1970s, present migration figures lack the reliability, consistency and comparability that European policy-makers require. In addition, they do not meet new United Nations recommendations for international migration statistics.

THESIM  Towards a robust and consistent picture of migration to, from and within the EU


Parallel to forthcoming UN work on international migration, THESIM will explore these issues in EU Member States and candidate countries. It will:

  • Compare definitions and ideas on migration and asylum
  • Reveal barriers to reliability and comparability in present data
  • Integrate data on various types of migration to improve knowledge of actual cross-border movement
  • Describe bilateral and international work and assess the impact of poor reliability and comparability on policy implementation
  • Recommend improvements after input from all stakeholders

Contribution to policy development:

THESIM will provide policy-makers with:

  • A comprehensive record of definitions, regulations, practices and activity of migrants in Europe
  • A consistent, harmonised and robust information platform on migrant activity
  • An assessment of the impact of poor data on policy development
  • Actionable recommendations on migration to policy-makers

Project deliverables

  • National and synthetic reports on various aspects of migration data – Month 8
  • Report on comparable asylum procedures across EU – Month 8
  • Report on integration of asylum data in order to improve measurement of flows – Month 12       
  • Final report with recommendations including feasibility study – September 2005


Due to the sensitive nature of the data, dissemination will be restricted to data providers and policy-makers using the Eurostat Working Paper series convention.

Technical information

Project acronym: THESIM
Project’s official full title: Towards Harmonised European Statistics of International Migration
Research priority: 2.5. Comparative research of factors underlying migration and refugee flows, including illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 501667
Start date: 01/04/2004
Kick off meeting: Not available
Completion date: 30/08/2005
European Commission scientific officer: Giulia Amaducci (

Name: Université catholique de Louvain
Abbreviated name: UCL
Address: Place de l'Université1
1348 Louvain-la-Neuve
Country: Belgium
Tel: + 32 10 47 2111
Fax: +32 10 47 2999


Name: Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute
Abbreviated name: NIDI
Country: The Netherlands

Name: Institut National d’Etudes Démographiques
Abbreviated name: INED
Country: France

Name: Centro per la Cooperazione Statistica Internazionale - Luigi Bodio
Abbreviated name: ICstat
Country: Italy

Name: Central European Forum for Migration Research
Abbreviated name: CEFMR
Country: Poland

Name: Estonian Interuniversity Population Research Centre
Abbreviated name: EKDK
Country: Estonia

Name: Estonian Interuniversity Population Research Centre
Abbreviated name: ICMPD
Country: Austria