Sunday

30th Apr 2017

Europeans say they are tolerant, but oppose immigration

  • Not welcome: immigrants are feared particularly in the UK (Photo: European Commission)

Europeans like to think of themselves as being liberal and tolerant, but at the same time oppose immigration, particularly from countries outside the EU, a poll carried out in Britain, France, Germany, Poland and Spain shows.

A majority of the people surveyed said they believed in the EU values of openness and liberalism, while also generally supporting the right of people to migrate within the EU on the search for work, reveals the poll, commissioned by the The Guardian and carried out by ICM between 24 February and 8 March on over 5,000 adults in the five member states.

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.

But the levels of opposition to migration from outside the EU, particularly at a time when southern countries like Spain may face waves of refugees from north African countries, are high. According to the poll, a quarter of Europeans list non-EU migration as the leading or second threat to Europe's future.

Britain comes out as the most hostile to migration, both within and from outside the EU. Some 47 percent say they are against outer-EU immigrants, half of whom even say they are "strongly hostile", while only 20 percent are in favour. Opponents of intra-EU migration also outnumber supporters by two percent.

The fresh results seem to confirm a poll released last week by Populis, which shows that 48 percent of Britons would consider supporting a new anti-immigration party. Some 52 percent agreed with the proposition that "Muslims create problems in the UK."

Opposition to migration from non-EU countries is also high in France, Spain and Germany. Some 39 percent of Spaniards and French oppose it, along with 37 percent of Germans. Approval rates vary between 30 and 33 percent.

By contrast, Poland is the only surveyed state to be more in favour than against immigration: 46 percent of Poles approve and only a quarter reject the idea of immigration.

In addition to the fear of immigrants, lack of trust in current governments and concerns about jobs and the future of the economy are prevalent in all countries. On average, only 6 percent of the surveyed Europeans say they trust the government, while 46 percent say they do not have very much confidence in it and 32 percent have none at all. Only 9 percent of Europeans think politicians in general act with honesty and integrity.

Except for the Germans, who are witnessing a mild recovery of their economy and are upbeat about the future, most of those surveyed have a gloomy view about the economy. Anxiety is greatest in France, where pessimists outnumber optimists by 46 points, followed by Britain, Poland and Spain.

Support for the euro remains strong in France, Spain and Germany. Poles, however, oppose their country joining the euro, with 48 against and 40 percent in favour.

Opinion

Italian MEP candidates scaremongering on immigration

While playing the 'influx of immigrants' card is nothing new to Italian electoral campaigns, this is the first time that candidates are demanding EU institutions, rather than simply national government, to declare war on illegal immigration.

UK grants highest number of EU citizenships

Over 810,000 people were given EU citizenship in 2010, with the UK topping the list in numbers and Luxembourg agreeing the highest amount in relation to its size.

Feature

Civil society steps in to fight rising obesity

By 2030, it is estimated that more than 50 percent of Europeans will be obese. With a lack of public policies and coherent strategies, civil society is often the one trying to find a solution.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process

Latest News

  1. EU boasts unity on Brexit talks
  2. May’s election juggernaut
  3. EPP scolds Orban over university and NGO laws
  4. Oxford-Studie besorgt über 'Schrott' News in Frankreich
  5. Alte Freundschaft zwischen Le Pen und Putin
  6. EP chief faces questions after homophobic 'summit'
  7. EU signals Northern Ireland could join if united with Ireland
  8. One year later: EU right to open internet still virtual