Sunday

21st Jul 2019

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

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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.

Agenda

EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK

Boris Johnson is almost certain to become the UK's next prime minister, and oversee Brexit until the 31 October deadline, as work in the EU bubble is winding down for the summer.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK
  2. Survey: Half of EU staff 'don't know' ethics rules
  3. Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law
  4. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law
  5. Timmermans trolls 'idiot' Brexit negotiators
  6. Rudderless Europe: Will real Germany please stand up?
  7. PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory
  8. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us