According to a new study published by the European Council on Foreign Relations prior to the European elections, the biggest problems Europeans face are corruption, nationalism, terrorism, climate change, while migration is still seen as a major concern in Western Europe.
Before the European Parliament elections on 14 May, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) has released the results of a research conducted about the things that Europeans are most concerned about. The survey was conducted in 14 of the European Union member countries, which will determine 80 percent of the seats in the EP.
The study published in the Guardian showed some surprising results. Countries in eastern Europe, where migration is brought up often as a major concern by politicians, the research found out that majority of people were concerned not about immigration into their countries but about migration from their home country to other countries the most, with the population and workforce being affected. These are countries with long-lasting austerity policies that affect their economy as well.
Similarly, in Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland, Hungary and Romania, the number of people who are concerned about migration of their countrymen is more than the number of people concerned about immigration.
The common feature of these countries is that their populations either do not increase or have been decreasing. Especially in Romania, which is one of the poorest countries in the EU, the population has decreased by 10 percent in the last decade due to the fact that the labour force has largely migrated to Western Europe.
In the north and western Europe, the number of those worried about immigration is much higher than those who are concerned about migration to other countries.
In the last five years, despite the fact that the fear of immigration have had a huge impact on the policies and discourse of the EU, there are many issues that Europeans worry about as well as migration, such as corruption, nationalism, terrorism, and climate change.