UK border

European governments have come under increasing pressure to control immigration as political parties espousing anti-migrant policies have grown in popularity.

The UK's Office for National Statistics revealed the numbers coming to live in Britain minus those leaving - net migration - rose by 78,000 from the previous year, standing at 260,000.

Meanwhile, Eurostat data shows that Britain will have overtaken Germany as the European Union's most populous nation, if it stays in the bloc, due to the EU's law over freedom of movement.

In the 2010 Conservatives election manifesto, Prime Minister David Cameron pledged: "We will take steps to take net migration back to the levels of the 1990s - tens of thousands a year, not hundreds of thousands."

However, Eurostat said that the economic benefits of the post-World War II baby boom generation will diminish as more people retire, making immigration an essential factor in the economic survival of Europe.

Here are three charts from Reuters and Eurostat that show why:

European demographic crisis
European demographic crisis
Reuters / Agencies