A massive poll covering all 28 European Union (EU) states has revealed an overwhelming concern over illegal immigration with more than three-quarters of EU citizens saying that Europe’s external borders should be better protected.
The sweeping February survey conducted by the Századvég Foundation’s Project 28 sampled one thousand adult citizens from each of the 28 EU countries, and found a remarkable consistency of thought regarding the dangers of unchecked immigration.
What is “most striking” about the survey, wrote the Spectator’s Douglas Murray on March 24, is that “there is such extraordinary unanimity around the question of immigration.”
“While numerous political divides exist within each of the 28 member states, and considerable differences exist between them, only on the matters of migration, borders and security can this not be said,” he observed.
The poll has revealed, in fact, that while 78 percent of all Europeans believe that illegal immigration into their countries is a problem, more citizens in every single European country say that it is a “serious problem” than say it is not a problem or not a very serious problem.
Europeans also expressed anxiety over the prospect of Africans migrants arriving en masse into Europe over the next decade, with 68 percent of those surveyed saying they either “strongly fear” or “moderately fear” such a scenario.
The rapid population growth of Muslims in Europe is another area of particular concern among Europeans, the survey found, with 70 percent of the people believing that a growing Muslim presence is a problem and a mere 8 percent saying it is no threat at all.
The majority of Europeans across the board believe that the influx of immigrants into their respective countries will increase both the crime rate and the threat of terrorism. A majority of citizens (57 percent) said that the influx of immigrants will change the culture of their countries.
The perception of migration has also changed, as a majority of Europeans are now convinced that most migrants are attracted to Europe by “pull factors” such as the EU’s economy and social benefits.
Handling immigration, on the other hand, is also perceived as imposing a major economic burden on EU member states, with 73 percent of those interviewed saying that managing immigration will pose a “huge financial burden” on receiving countries. Only 17 percent believe that the cost of handling immigration with not be “huge.”
Meanwhile, most of Europe is dissatisfied with Brussels’ handling of the immigration crisis, the study found.
Despite widely reported criticism of the immigration policies of countries in Central and Eastern Europe, a majority of EU citizens actually believe that these nations have handled the immigration crisis better than Brussels. Only 24 percent believe that Brussels has done a better job than Central and Eastern European nations in handling the crisis.
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