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European Establishment and Members of the Public Poles Apart on EU, Immigration, Islam, Confirms Study

The Royal Institute of International Affairs, commonly known as Chatham House, has published research which indicates there is a huge divide between Europe’s media-political establishment and ordinary members of the public on the EU, mass immigration, and Islam.

Their paper, titled “The Future of Europe: Comparing Public and Elite Attitudes”, indicates that whilst 71 per cent of the “elite” feel they have benefited from the European Union, only 34 per cent of ordinary people feel the same way.

The contrast in opinions on mass immigration was equally stark, with 57 per cent of elites convinced it has been good for their country, compared with 25 per cent of the public, and 58 per cent of elites believing migrants have “enhanced cultural life” compared with just 38 per cent of the public.

Elites are similarly out of touch with respect to the impact of immigration on crime and public services, with 54 per cent saying it has not made crime worse and 49 per cent saying it is not been a strain on the welfare state.

Meanwhile, 51 per cent of the public recognised that immigration has made crime worse and 55 per cent recognised it has put strains on the welfare state.

Elites also proved far less concerned about the impact of Islam on Europe than the public, with 56 per cent of ordinary people saying “all further immigration from Muslims states should be halted” compared with 53 per cent of elites who said it should not be.

Fifty-five per cent of ordinary people also agreed that “European and Muslim ways of life are irreconcilable”, compared with just 35 per cent of elites.

Curiously, both seemed to be convinced on banning Islamic face coverings in public – 61 per cent of elites, 73 per cent of ordinary people.


SOURCE: ‘The Future of Europe: Comparing Public and Elite Attitudes’, Chatham House

The findings would seem to suggest that conservative governments in countries like Hungary and Poland are the closest to the public in terms of sentiment, with Hungarians ministers saying “it is clear [the European and Islamic] cultures are incapable of coexisting without conflict”.

Chatham House said its research was “based on a unique survey conducted between December 2016 and February 2017 in 10 countries that polled two groups: a representative sample of 10,000 members of the public; and a sample of over 1,800 of Europe’s ‘elite’, individuals in positions of influence from politics, the media, business and civil society at local, regional, national and European levels”.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery

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