Europeans are afraid of migration from mainly Muslim countries. A recent research poll conducted in among 10,000 people in ten European countries shows that the levels of public anxiety over immigration from mainly Muslim states are significant and widespread.
The survey was conducted before US president Donald Trump signed the executive order to ban citizens from seven Muslim states to enter the US for 90 days and temporarily freeze all refugee arrivals (including Syrian indefinitely).
However, the issue of migration has become an issue for European politicians, after the Refugee crisis of 2015.
Trump’s policy only added oil to the issue in Europe and many right-wing leaders praised him for this.
The survey results are “striking and sobering” the analysts note as “they suggest that public opposition to any further migration from predominantly Muslim states is by no means confined to Trump’s electorate in the US but is fairly widespread.”
UK-based think tank Chatham House wanted to know, where do the public in European countries stand on the specific issue of Muslim immigration? There was evidence to suggest that both Trump and these radical EU right-wing parties reflected an underlying reservoir of public support.
Respondents were given the following statement:
‘All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped’.
They were then asked to what extent did they agree or disagree with this statement.
Overall, across all 10 of the European countries an average of 55% agreed that all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped, 25% neither agreed nor disagreed and 20% disagreed.
Majorities in all but two of the ten states agreed, ranging from 71% in Poland, 65% in Austria, 58% in Greece, 53% in Germany and 51% in Italy to 47% in the United Kingdom and 41% in Spain. In no country did the percentage that disagreed surpass 32%.
“Public opposition to further migration from Muslim states is especially intense in Austria, Poland, Hungary, France and Belgium, despite these countries having very different sized resident Muslim populations. In each of these countries, at least 38% of the sample ‘strongly agreed’ with the statement. With the exception of Poland, these countries have either been at the centre of the refugee crisis or experienced terrorist attacks in recent years. It is also worth noting that in most of these states the radical right is, to varying degrees, entrenched as a political force and is looking to mobilize this angst over Islam into the ballot box, either at elections in 2017 or longer term.”
Interesting are also the survey findings socio-demographic terms.
“Findings also reveal how, across Europe, opposition to Muslim immigration is especially intense among retired, older age cohorts while those aged below 30 are notably less opposed.”
There is also a clear education divide. “Of those with secondary level qualifications, 59% opposed further Muslim immigration. By contrast, less than half of all degree holders supported further migration curbs.”
Males totally oppose Muslim migration at 57%, while females oppose at 52%.
Majority of those opposing further Muslim migration live in rural, less populated areas.
Whereas among those based in cities and metropolitan areas just over half agree with the statement and around a quarter are less supportive of a ban.
Opposition is also more prominent among ‘left behind’ voters, with nearly two-thirds of those who feel they don’t have control over their own lives supporting the statement.
There is also some evidence that public opposition crosses political boundaries, with three-quarters of those who self-classify themselves as on the right of the political spectrum and more than a third of those on the left supporting a halt.
Full survey findings here.
The survey shows that 55% of the Europeans -58% of Greeks – are in the same wavelength with US President Donald Trump.