Emigration and immigration, 2007


Observations for policy

Eastern European countries register higher migration outflows than inflows, whereas all Member States in Western, Northern and Southern Europe register higher migration inflows.

Emigration significantly contributed to population decline in Eastern Europe in the past decade. For regions affected by out-migration, strategies are to be set up in order to protect these regions from further decline in their economic performance or their level of public services, which might otherwise result in a vicious circle due to the close interrelation of economic development and migration flows.

In regions affected by considerable in-migration flows, the migrants’ integration in the labour market and educational system is essential in order to preserve social cohesion and to enable the migrants to take full advantage of their potentials. Urban agendas focusing on prevention of poverty, on inclusion and integration in the labour market might offer a suitable means highlighting both related challenges but also opportunities resulting from immigration.

Policy context

Migration flows outweigh natural population change in Europe. The Sixth Cohesion Report highlights that in the last decade the contribution of net-immigration to population growth in the EU-15 was three times larger than that of natural increase. At the same time in the EU-13, net-emigration contributed twice as much to population decline as natural reduction. In total, Europe’s population still grows due to continuous immigration.

A main challenge related to migration flows refers to a better integration of migrants in the labour market. As mentioned in the Europe 2020 Strategy, better integration of migrants in the labour market can also contribute to increasing the employment rate to at least 75%. In this context, it is essential to promote social innovation and to develop a new agenda for migrants’ integration so that they can fully exploit their potentials. Another challenge refers to urban areas. As it is mentioned in the Territorial Agenda 2020, increasing intra-European migration after the EU enlargements of 2004, 2007 and 2013 and immigration from less developed non-EU countries entail specific challenges (but also new opportunities) for European cities.

Map interpretation

The map shows the relative importance of immigration and emigration, distinguishing between migration within EU28+4 (European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and other flows. When interpreting it, one has to consider that the map displays the pre-crisis pattern. As migration flows are often labour-related, migration flows have changed as a result of the crisis.

Countries of Northern, Western and Southern Europe experience a positive migratory balance, while Eastern Europe sees more people leaving each country than entering. Among the countries with a positive migratory balance, the biggest difference between the number of immigrants and emigrants can be identified for Finland, Sweden, Norway and Italy. For countries with a negative migratory balance, the biggest difference can be identified for Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus in Southeast Europe, and Estonia and Latvia in the Baltic. Especially in Central Europe, i.e. Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia, but also on the Iberian Peninsula and in Iceland the difference between immigration and emigration is comparatively low.

Immigration from EU28+4 and non-EU28+4 countries is equivalent in many countries. Luxembourg and Liechtenstein stand out as countries with the highest shares of migrants from EU28+4 countries. This is mainly due to the fact that cross-border migration is relatively more important in small countries. The highest shares of immigrants from non-EU28+4 countries can be found in Italy and Spain in Southern Europe, in the United Kingdom and France in Northwest Europe, and in the Czech Republic in Eastern Europe. With regards to emigration, flows to the rest of the EU28+4 countries outweigh those to other parts of the world in most countries. The only exceptions are Latvia, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Spain, Malta and Cyprus.

Concepts and methods

The map has two layers. The colour of each country indicates whether emigration outweighs immigration (brown), or vice versa (blue). Darker colours reflect a higher difference in the number of emigrants and immigrants.

The second layer consists of circle diagrams that show the number of migrants, separating between in- and out-migration and between flows within and outside EU28+4. Emigration figures are shown in red in the left semicircle, while the green right semicircle corresponds to immigration. The size of each semicircle indicates the extent of the migratory flow. Second, the partition in the right semicircle indicates the relation between people immigrating from EU28+4 and non-EU28+4 countries (origin of in-migration), and the partition in the left semicircle indicates the relation between people emigrating to EU28+4 and non-EU28+4 countries (destination of out-migration).