Migrants in EU 27+2, 2000

Origin_migrants_2000-03This month ESPON presents insights on the international migration flows towards an enlarged Europe. The consolidation of migration flows towards the EU allows to raise some questions. Is migration a selective process? Does the migration flows towards the EU fit with the European labour market needs?


The map shows the country of birth of migrants living in the EU 27 plus Switzerland and Norway in 2000. The size of the circles indicates the number of migrants by each state that have come to live in the Europe. It is important to refer that there is generally a lack of reliable and complete data on migration. The map is built only using available data on legal migration by organisations such as OECD and UN.


Concerning international migration flows, migrants have come to European countries from nearly all parts of the world. In 2000 app. 31 million people living in the EU countries, Norway and Switzerland (i.e. 6 % of the entire population) were international migrants.

Two geographical areas can be identified as the main source of migrants: some Maghreb countries (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) and the Balkan countries plus Turkey, i.e. countries in very close proximity to the European Union. In fact these two areas account for 43 % of all international migrants of the Europe. The countries which belonged to the Soviet Bloc are the third largest source of migrants.

On the other side, the Central Asian and Central American countries provided very low numbers of migrants to the Europe, not only because they are not highly populated, but mainly due to the fact that migrants from these areas are probably attracted by other regions, such as Russia and North America.

However, it must be kept in mind that the 1990s was an exceptional decade in respect of upheavals that had impacts on the migratory movements. The collapse of the Soviet Bloc and the war in the Balkans, which brought about the dissolution of Yugoslavia, were only some of the events that increased (refugee) migrations.


It seems obvious that the redistribution of people is a selective process. In fact, Europe is an immigration region from all other parts of the world. However, it is important to emphasize that the European neighbourhood constitutes an important source for international migrants and that political, historical and linguistic ties play an important role in the overall inflow of migrants towards the European Union and for the country these migrants decide to settle down.

Further reading: Europe in the World Report



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