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The objective of the EMN is to meet the information needs of Union institutions and of Member States’ authorities and institutions by providing up-to-date, objective, reliable and comparable information on migration and asylum, with a view to supporting policymaking in the European Union in these areas. The EMN also serves to provide the general public with such information, including via this website.
The European Commission (under the direct responsibility of the Directorate General for Home Affairs) co-ordinates the EMN assisted by two Service Providers (GHK-COWI and iLiCONN), in co-operation with National Contact Points (EMN NCPs) appointed in each Member State plus Norway, who, in turn, develop a national network consisting of a wide-range of entities representing all relevant stakeholders. EMN NCPs, which have been designated by their Member State government, consist primarily of Ministries of Interior and of Justice; plus Research Institutes; Non-Governmental Organisations; and a national office of an International Organisation. A Steering Board, chaired by the European Commission and consisting of one representative from each Member State plus, acting as an Observer, from the European Parliament and from Norway, provides political guidance on the activities of the EMN.
In order to address the need to exchange information on all aspects of migration and to contribute to a common asylum and immigration policy, the European Commission was invited to consider the "development of a European system for exchanging information on asylum, migration and countries of origin" by the Laeken European Council in 2001. The result was the European Migration Network, which was launched in 2003 as a Pilot Project, and since 2004 as a Preparatory Action until the end of 2006. The Thessaloniki European Council (2003) stated that it would welcome the establishment of a European Migration Network and would examine the possibility of setting up a permanent structure in the future. The Hague Programme reinforced the need for common analysis of migratory phenomena (the collection, provision, exchange and efficient use of up-to-date information), and the EMN is one means towards this goal. More recently, the successor Stockholm Programme contains many elements for the better exchange of information between Member States across the wide range of asylum and migration policy developments. To achieve this most effectively, the information needs to be comparable between the Member States.
Council Decision 2008/381/EC establishing a legal basis for the EMN was adopted on 14th May 2008.