Since the early 1990s, international migration of citizens from non-member states European Union has featured high on the political agenda of all European states and the European Union. Due to the increase of the numbers of third-country nationals seeking entry, the focus of most national policies and in particular of the co-operation between European states was on the regulation of immigration as such. Questions concerning the integration of immigrants were thereby pushed to the background to some degree.

The Treaty of Amsterdam shifted the issues of external border controls, asylum, entry and the safeguarding of rights of third-country nationals from the third (intergovernmental co-operation) to the first pillar of community policy-making. The fact that with this, not only the regulation of immigration but also matters related to the broad field of integration of non-EU nationals have become matters of concern for the European Union was reconfirmed at the Tampere Summit in October 1999: “A common approach must also be developed to ensure the integration into our societies of those third country nationals who are lawfully resident in the Union.” (Presidency Conclusions)

A “common approach” clearly necessitates comparable knowledge on the status of and the general conditions for the integration of “immigrant minorities” (the population of immigrants and their descendants) in the member states. The basic pre-condition for this is comparability of statistical data and indicators: Without reliable and comparable knowledge about the forms and levels of integration of immigrant minorities in various spheres of society of each member state and without common benchmarks and evaluation criteria applicable in all member states it is impossible to devise an approach which is really “common”

Eight countries are covered in COMPSTAT:
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • the Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Switzerland