Due to the need for a rapid collection of reliable information and data on migration in EU and Member States as well as to the endeavours for the reduction of various forms of abuses concerning the right to free movement of persons, the European Council called upon the European Commission at the Laeken meeting in 2001 to examine the possibility of “establishing a system for exchanging information on various migration aspects with the purpose of forming a common asylum and migration policy”. At the meeting in Thessalonica in 2003 the European Council therefore adopted the Decision in which it invited the European Commission to launch the European Migration Network pilot project and announced that it would examine the possibility of establishing a permanent structure in the future. In 2004-2006 the European Migration Network operated as a preparatory measure. The Hague Programme 2005-2009 confirmed the need to promote a common analysis of migration phenomena that includes the collection, exchange as well as an efficient use of concrete information and data.
Stockholm Programme 2010-2014 additionally encouraged the European Migration Network for performing new tasks and activities to improve the exchange of information and data among Member States within the formation of new migration and asylum policies (Common European Asylum System). The report on the assessment of the Stockholm Programme performance in 2010-2013, drafted in cooperation with the European Commission and the European Migration Network stressed a further need for expanding EMN activities and its cooperation with different stakeholders as well as for examining migration and asylum phenomena. It was noted that the Community institutions and EU Member States’ authorities were increasingly relying on different documents as well as other EMN sources in the formation of EU and/or national policies and legislation.
The basis for the European Migration Network operation is the multi-annual working programme which defines in detail certain obligations and activities that present the basis for the preparation of working programmes for individual national contact points. Both the documents serve as the basis for stipulating the so called Agreement on co-funding the activities of a national contact point between the European Commission and the individual Member State.