EU Science Hub

Migration and demography: new European Commission Knowledge Centre to better manage information and data

Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, JRC Director-General Vladimir Šucha, Commissioner Tibor Navracsics and Commissioner Christos Stylianides
Jun 20 2016

On 20 June 2016, the European Commission launched a new in-house virtual centre dedicated to migration and demography, which will bring together existing knowledge. It will also pursue research on future migration flows and population trends, including understanding their impact on health, welfare, education systems and the economy. The launch coincided with the World Refugee Day.

Tibor Navracsics Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, responsible for the Joint Research Centre, said at the inauguration: "Migration is at the top of the EU political agenda. There is a great need to underpin policy decisions with sound evidence. The Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography will help centralise, put into context and make comparable the relevant knowledge existing both within the Commission and outside it, in order to serve the different EU policies with the most appropriate information."

The knowledge centre will focus on building the evidence base, conducting analysis and foresight and thus making sense of the fragmented data and information available in the Commission and beyond. A central web-based platform to share the knowledge will be established. Last but not least, strategic partnerships and networking across and beyond Europe will be pursued.

Launch event

The Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography is a Commission-wide initiative, involving, among others, Directorates-General for Migration and Home Affairs, Research and Innovation,  International Cooperation and Development, Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, the European Political Strategy Centre, Eurostat, and the Joint Research Centre, which will take care of its daily running.

It was launched at a dedicated event in Brussels, with Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for Budget and Human Resources; Tibor Navracsics Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, responsible for the Joint Research Centre; Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management; Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.

Other speakers included Demetrios G. Papademetriou, President of Migration Policy Institute Europe, Pavel Kabat, Director-General of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Professor Wolfgang Lutz, World Population Program Director in IIASA and Peter Diez, Deputy Director for Migration Policy, Ministry of Security and Justice in the Netherlands.

European Commission JRC/IIASA: Centre of Expertise on Population and Migration

The first partnership of the knowledge centre is with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and was inaugurated during the conference. The resulting European Commission-JRC/IIASA Centre of Expertise on Population and Migration will provide multi-dimensional assessments of future population trends in Europe, as well as in the main regions of origin for migration into Europe. It will study push and pull factors, different kinds of migration streams as well as the impact of migration flows for Europe in terms of population ageing and the productivity of Europe’s labour force over the coming decades.

Knowledge centres in the Commission

The Knowledge Centre for Migration and Demography is the second to be launched after the centre on disaster risk management (September 2015). Another one on territorial policy will follow. The JRC has started creating specific knowledge centres in different areas of expertise where there is a clear and specific EU policy demand. With an ever-greater access to and amount of available knowledge, there is also a pressing need for systematic reviews and meta-analyses. This is necessary to make sense of the knowledge to inform policy-making. Knowledge centres play the pivotal role of bringing together experts and knowledge from different locations inside and outside the Commission.

European Agenda on Migration

On 13 May 2015, the Commission adopted the European Agenda on Migration, which sets out the strategic framework for 2015-2020 and defines policy priorities for the Commission. With this proposal and the ensuing measures, the Commission wants to provide EU Member States with the necessary tools to manage the current refugee crisis, and to prepare for the future opportunities and challenges linked to longer-term global demographic and migration trends. The Knowledge Centre on migration and demography will predominantly respond to priorities set out in the Agenda, as well as provide a forward-looking foresight capability.