Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission
EU migration statistics and population projections are based on data disaggregated by objective criteria (for instance citizenship and country of birth of the person concerned). These data are publicly available on Eurostat's website.
Available data show that on 1 January 2008, the EU's total population was 497 445 000. Of these, 19 484 000, i.e. 3.9 % of the total, were third-country nationals not holding the citizenship of a Member State. Five years before, on 1 January 2003, the percentage of third-country nationals (not citizens of an EU Member State but resident in the EU) was 3.55 %. In the five years between 2003 and 2007, almost 3.5 million people acquired the citizenship of an EU Member State.
It is widely acknowledged by demographers that in the near future (in 2015 according to Eurostat's projections(1)), births will not outnumber deaths in the EU and that population growth due to natural increase will start to cease. For this reason, net inward migration would be the only population growth factor.