What do Europeans think about migrants? Special Eurobarometer survey

Immigration has been the public’s top priority since 2015. The European Commission has now published the results of a special Eurobarometer which surveyed 28,000 respondents across all 28 EU Member States in October 2017. Respondents shared their general perception of immigrants and personal experiences with them, as well as their opinion about successful integration and roles various actors can play in this process.

Results suggest that most Europeans mingle with migrant populations, as 60% interact with them on a regular basis. The majority of these contacts happen in informal environments: four in ten Europeans have either friends or family members who are immigrants. EU citizens have nevertheless an incorrect view of migration, overestimating both the number of immigrants residing in Europe and the proportion of illegal migrants. This can be explained by the way media report on immigration and integration matters, as only 37% of Europeans think that they are well informed.

Media coverage can indeed play an important role in the integration of immigrants. And 53% of European agreed that negative portrayal of immigrants in the media is a major obstacle to integration. On the other hand, key factors that can support integration, according to Europeans, include introduction programmes, language courses, equality and non-discrimination measures, job search support, etc. In terms of actors, European citizens say everyone has a role to play in the integration of immigrants, including themselves, media, governments, employers and immigrants themselves. Fostering integration is indeed considered as an investment by 69% of respondents.

More data can be found in the report. A summary of the main findings, infographics as well as 28 country factsheets, in both English and national languages are also made available.

Source: European Commission

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