Public Attitudes Toward EU Mobility and Non-EU Immigration: A Distinction with Little Difference

Public Attitudes Toward EU Mobility and Non-EU Immigration: A Distinction with Little Difference

August 6, 2018

Working Paper

Why do some Europeans support immigration from within the EU, while rejecting immigration from elsewhere? This second working paper of work package 10 identifies and attempts to explain the attitudes of “EU-only inclusionists”: EU nationals who support high levels of immigration, but only from within the EU.

The authors take advantage of an experimental module in the European Social Survey to explore the demographic and country profile of EU citizens who tend to distinguish in their preferred levels of immigration inflows, depending on the origin and skill-level of immigrants. They find that less than 10% of Europeans in our 18-country sample can be classified as Europe-only inclusionists. They also find that existing theories of immigration attitudes and EU support, based on identities, resources, and cognitive mobilization, have relatively little power to explain this pattern, although EU identity is marginally associated with support for intra-EU mobility.

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