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The aim of the European Migration Network is to meet the information needs of Community 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.

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.

After the successful completion of the preparatory phase the European Commission published in August 2007 the draft Council Decision establishing the legal basis for EMN. The Council Decision 2008/381/EC was adopted on 14 May 2008.

Slovak Republic is participating on the pilot and preparatory activities of the European Migration Network from 2003. Until December 2008 the Academy of the Police Force in Bratislava worked as a national coordinator. This function was taken over by the IOM International Organization for Migration in December 2008 following the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Ministry of Interior of the SR and IOM. Activities of the EMN in the Slovak Republic are financed by the European Union and the state budget (Ministry of Interior of the SR) in a ratio 80:20.