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Europeans pessimistic about immigration, jobs

21 January 20190 comments

Immigration has replaced terrorism as the issue most important to Europeans, according to new research.

The numbers of Europeans who think terrorism is one of the two most important issues facing the EU has dropped substantially in the past two years.

Just 20 per cent of respondents to the latest ‘Eurobarometer’ poll cited terrorism, down from 44 per cent in a similar poll held early in 2017.

The main concern of Europeans now is immigration, which was cited by around 40 per cent of respondents in the most recent polls.

The position of member states’ public finances was cited by 19 per cent of respondents and the economic situation (18 per cent) were also issues whose importance was rated by a similar share of EU citizens in the past two years.

The share of people who think climate change is one of the EU’s two biggest challenges was at its highest point yet at 16 per cent, up from 11 per cent six months ago.

While immigration is mentioned first in almost all 28 EU member states, around 46 percent of Swedish respondents mentioned climate change first.

In Portugal, terrorism was mentioned most frequently (35 per cent).

But the poll showed large differences between member states when respondents are asked to judge the situation of the economy in their countries.

Citizens in Malta, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands were most positive, with more than 90 per cent saying the situation was good.

In Greece, which this year exited the EU bailout program, only six per cent of respondents said the Greek economy was in a good state. While 94 per cent said the situation was bad.

Similar low levels of satisfaction with the national economy were recorded in Croatia, Spain, and Bulgaria.

And 44 per cent of respondents said they thought the “worst is still to come” in terms of economic problems. A similar share thought the impact of the crisis on jobs had reached its peak.

France (67 per cent) and the UK (60 per cent) were among the countries where respondents thought the worst still laid ahead.


Laurie Nowell

AMES Australia Senior Journalist