Thursday

25th Aug 2016

Most Europeans back migrant curbs, poll finds

  • Most people in France, the UK and Germany want quotas on EU migration. (Photo: wfbakker2)

Most Europeans believe that the number of migrant workers from other EU countries has been bad for their country and would like to restrict freedom of movement, a new opinion poll suggests.

The research by polling firm YouGov, which was released on Thursday (11 December) interviewed more than 6,000 people across six EU countries - the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Finland - as well as Norway.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Swedes were the only country surveyed where a majority agreed that EU immigration had benefited their country.

Meanwhile, although majorities in Britain, Germany, Denmark and Finland all believed that immigration had been bad for them, French people were the most hostile. Only 9 percent agreed that immigration had been beneficial for France, while 53 percent disagreed.

Several national leaders have made moves to clamp down on the access EU migrant workers have to welfare benefits, led by UK prime minister David Cameron. Cameron would like to impose a cap on the total number of EU migrants and wants EU nationals to work for at least four years before being able to access the UK benefits system.

Meanwhile, the German government tabled legislation in August aimed at tackling abuse of the welfare benefits system and restricting access to child allowances.

Asked whether migrants should be allowed to claim benefits, a large majority in all six EU countries said that migrants should be required to work for at least one year before being able to access benefits, and should find work before being allowed to move abroad.

However, the three Scandinavian countries disagreed that annual quotas on EU migrants should be imposed. The strongest support for quotas was in the UK and France where 64 percent and 58 percent, respectively, supported their introduction.

The introduction of quotas has been rejected by EU leaders on the grounds that this would breach the bloc's commitment to freedom of movement, one of its four fundamental freedoms.

Elsewhere, the poll suggests that Europeans are highly cautious about their economic futures.

A majority of respondents in the UK, France, Sweden and Finland felt that their family’s economic prospects would deteriorate over the next year, while Britons were the only group to believe that their country’s economy would be in a better condition in a year’s time.

After suffering a double dip recession in 2008 and then 2010, the UK is now one of the fastest growing economies in the EU, while both France and Germany, the two largest economies in the eurozone, have seen growth of less than 1 percent in 2014. French and Finnish respondents were the most gloomy about their economic prospects.

A referendum on the UK’s continued EU membership would also be on a knife-edge according to the poll, with ‘No’ supporters marginally ahead by 43 percent to 38 percent.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  2. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  3. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  4. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  5. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  6. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  7. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  8. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  9. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  10. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey
  11. GoogleA Little Bird Told us to Start Tweeting About Google’s Work Across Europe. Learn More @GoogleBrussels
  12. Counter BalanceThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline: An Opportunity or a Scam in the Making for Albania?

Latest News

  1. Italy earthquake is test for Renzi
  2. Let's fix EU copyright law, for innovation and creativity online
  3. French government tries to defuse burkini row
  4. EU to Turkey: Do you really want to join?
  5. US slams EU competition policies
  6. French diesel committee 'did not cover up for Renault'
  7. EU backs Greek ex-data chief over criminal charges
  8. EU must step up migrant relocation, say Italy and Greece