21st Mar 2018

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:

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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions

Washington would still like to block a planned gas pipeline between Russia and Germany but is not yet considering hitting companies involved in the project.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders expected to approve Brexit future talks guidelines
  2. Tusk: EU must 'continue to engage' with US on trade
  3. European elections set for 23-26 May 2019
  4. EU tries to find common candidate for top UN food job
  5. Facebook post triggers Norway no-confidence vote
  6. Merkel: 'no reason' to sanction Schroeder for Russia support
  7. MEPs and Council strike deal on posted workers' rights
  8. EU parliament to investigate Facebook data 'breach'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverHiring - Sales Associate With 2+ Years Experience - Apply Now!
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?