In July 2007, the European Union adopted a regulation aimed at harmonizing the European statistics relating to international migration. As Xavier Thierry shows here, the statistical challenge is sizeable, and it has to be confronted as soon as possible: in 7 of the 27 member states (including France), the numbers of entries and departures from the national territory is not known and, where figures exist in the other countries, they are not all equally reliable or necessarily comparable.
After recalling the sources of information on international migration that exist in Europe (population registers, various surveys, residence permit files), Thierry reviews the definition of "international migrants", before concentrating more closely on the measurement of international migration flows for France and how to improve it. He then proposes some comparisons between countries of the Union, taking account of the difficulties attaching to the existing tools of measurement. Lastly, he turns to the specific case of residence permit statistics, which represent an interesting tool for the evaluation of migration policies, but which are calculated in France in a way that seems rather startling in relation to the new immigration policy announced by the government and not necessarily coherent with the principles adopted at the European level.