Wednesday

16th Jun 2021

Immigration is Europeans' biggest concern, poll finds

  • More than 150,000 migrants landed on EU shores in the first six months of this year (Photo: IOM.org)

Immigration is the most pressing concern for Europeans, overtaking the economic situation and unemployment, according to a new Eurobarometer survey.

Thirty-eight percent of Europeans regard immigration as their main policy priority, the spring Eurobarometer poll published on Friday (31 July) found, a 14 point increase from last autumn.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Migration has been pushed up the political agenda as thousands of migrants from north and sub-Saharan Africa cross the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better life in Europe.

According to Frontex, the EU’s border agency, 153,000 migrants had landed in Europe by the end of June this year, a 150 percent increase on 2014. The largest numbers of migrants have come from Syria, Eritrea and Somalia.

Data published by the UNCHR in June estimated that Greece is the most popular landing-point, with the number of migrants reaching the country by sea soaring to 63,000 this year, slightly higher than the 62,000 who arrived in Italy by sea.

Migrant deaths at sea this year stood at 1,865 in June, the International Organisation for Migration said.

The location of the EU’s smallest member state, Malta, in the south Mediterranean Sea, makes the island a popular entry point for would-be migrants from north Africa, and 65 percent of Maltese respondents cited immigration as their main concern.

Despite the humanitarian crisis, and the large administrative burden for entry-point countries, governments have struggled to accept EU-commission proposals on reallocating asylum-seekers, eventually agreeing a number smaller than originally proposed.

A total of 31,868 people were interviewed across the EU’s 28 member countries and five candidate countries.

Economic prospects, unemployment and public finances continue to dominate concerns in the minds of Europeans, although a 48-42 percent majority agreed that unemployment levels have hit their peak and will gradually fall.

Meanwhile, there was a slight increase in public optimism about the EU’s future and public trust in its institutions.

Trust in the EU’s institutions has now hit 40 percent, nine points higher than at the time of last May’s European elections, fractionally higher than the 40 percent who believe the EU has a positive image.

Public support for economic and monetary union and the euro remains unchanged at 57 percent. However, 69 percent of Greeks say they are in favour of euro membership, a six percent increase on last autumn.

The survey took place between 16-27 May, more than a month before Greece’s referendum on whether to accept its creditors’ bailout terms and the introduction of strict capital controls in the country.

Cyprus is the only eurozone country where a majority of respondents did not support euro membership. However, the survey suggests a big divide in public opinion between the euro ‘ins’ and ‘outs’. Romania was the only non-eurozone country where a majority supported membership of the single currency.

Eighty-three percent of Estonians, whose country joined the euro in 2012, supported the currency bloc, the highest level in the EU.

EU calls for solidarity on migrant crisis

EU migration commissioner Avramopoulos has announced emergency aid for Greece, Hungary, and Austria, while asking member states to show "collective courage".

Terrorism and migration top EU public's concern

Immigration and terrorism top people's concerns in Europe - a shift since the economic crisis. But the EU commission flattered itself in its reading of the latest polls.

EU to spend €2.4bn on migrant schemes

The EU executive approved programmes for border management and treatment of asylum application in 19 member states for the 2014-2020 period.

News in Brief

  1. China calls Nato statement 'slander'
  2. Israel bombs Gaza after Hamas responds to far-right march
  3. Kosovo and Serbia resume EU-brokered talks
  4. IKEA fined €1m for spying on French employees
  5. Markets snap up €20bn of new EU recovery bonds
  6. German court to test European Defence Fund legality
  7. Climate crisis may hit Europe's coffee and chocolate imports
  8. EU top court affirms national data watchdogs' power

German Greens face reality check amid CDU gains

Armin Laschet, Angela Merkel's would-be-heir after German's September election, said he would prefer to govern with the liberals - as the Greens continued their slump in the polls.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU and US make peace on trade before Russia summit
  2. Hungary passes anti-LGBTIQ bill ahead of 2022 election
  3. Prisoners, homeless, migrants, 'overlooked' in EU vaccine race
  4. EU must treat homeless as rights-holders, not criminals
  5. China officially joins Russia as a danger to Nato
  6. German Greens face reality check amid CDU gains
  7. EU Parliament wants Europe to take lead on sea-rescues
  8. MEPs urged to end gas-funding, fix cross-border projects rules

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us