Perceptions of the Impact of Immigration and Attitudes Towards Free Movement Within the EU: A Cross-National Study

Perceptions of the Impact of Immigration and Attitudes Towards Free Movement Within the EU: A Cross-National Study

April 25, 2018

Working Paper

This paper of work package 9 analyses public opinion on free movement in Europe, specifically looking at geographical differences between EU countries. The authors find that attitudes toward free movement are most positive in Eastern European countries (Hungary, Poland, most positive in Romania). In contrast, the UK is the only country with overall negative attitudes toward free movement, with Germany, Sweden, and Spain somewhere in between.

Additionally, the authors assess how attitudes toward free movement are linked to attitudes toward migration and migrants. Looking at the perceived impact of immigration, they find that the highest perceived threats from immigration are related to crime and safety aspects. Economic and welfare aspects stemming from immigration are seen as less threatening, with cultural impact perceptions located somewhere in between.

The paper also looked at different factors influencing attitudes toward free with a special focus on perceived impact from different migration groups. Looking at the influence of sociodemographic factors, the authors find that age, among other factors, is influential in all countries with older people tending to be more positive toward free movement.


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Dept. Christmas parties are a time of #joy, #love & #cheer. It also is a time to come together & be thankful. @FabienneLind, @J_Kohlenberger & I are particularly thankful for having been awarded the Dept. Research Award 2019. We're already eager to present our findings in 2020!🤗

Status update: @EU_REMINDER “Work Package” 7 still hard at work these days, scrambling to finish and submit our last two “deliverables” before the holiday. In the meanwhile, check out what the project has produced so far, research on free movement in EU

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