According to a new survey, young Eastern Europeans love the idea of freedom of movement but totally disagree with open doors mass migration and see Islamism as the biggest threat to the European Union (EU).
The survey, carried out by the Bertelsmann Foundation, asked young people aged 15 to 24-years-old across the Visegrad 4 countries (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic), Germany, and Austria for their opinion on the EU. Across the Eastern European nations, a majority loved the idea of being able to work in different EU states, but were totally against the bloc forcing their countries to take in high numbers of migrants, Der Spiegel reports.
Seventy per cent of those surveyed in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary did not feel their countries should be made to accept asylum seekers. The results were almost the direct opposite in Germany where 73 per cent of young Germans and 61 per cent of young Austrians believed that their country had a responsibility to care for migrants.
Gabriele Schöler of the Bertelsmann Foundation said the results were “shocking”.
When asked if migrants made their countries a better place and contributed to the economy, less than half (42 per cent) of Germans said “yes” while very nearly the same — 40 per cent — said a firm “no”. Seventy-eight per cent of Hungarians also said “no” followed by 73 per cent of Slovakians, 65 per cent of Czechs, and 58 per cent of Poles.
Security has also been a major issue during the migrant crisis as migrant crime rates have soared in places like Germany and Austria. Of those surveyed, the Visegrad group members had a 60 to 70 per cent agreement that migrants made their country less safe and less secure. The figures also explain the high youth vote for the various anti-mass migration parties in the Visegrad countries.
While the young people in the six countries differed on questions of migrants, they all agreed that radical Islamism was the biggest threat to Europe. After Islamism, all but the Germans fear the problems of mass migration. The Germans surveyed were more concerned with pollution, xenophobia, income inequality, and nationalism.
The Visegrad group nations of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic have shown defiance in the face of EU attempts to redistribute migrants from Germany, Greece, and Italy. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has even called for a rethinking of the bloc to emphasise nations, rather than a central bureaucracy and federalism.
Austria has been largely between the Visegrad group’s approach and Germany’s migrant policies. Last year, Austrian Freedom Party presidential candidate Norbert Hofer said he would look into membership of the Visegrad group if he were elected; but having lost to left-wing Alexander Van der Bellen in December, membership talks seem unlikely.
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