Survey: Two out of every three Europeans want migrant crisis tackled at EU level 


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Afghans brave rough seas to cross from Turkey to the Lesvos, Greece.©UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis 

Tackling unemployment and migration are for many Europeans the biggest challenges facing the EU, according to the latest Eurobarometer opinion poll commissioned by Parliament.

Nearly two thirds think decisions on migration should be taken at the EU level rather than nationally, while eight out of ten said asylum seekers should be “better distributed among all EU member states”. However, the answers vary considerably from country to country.

The full results of the survey, which was conducted in all member states in September 2015, can be consulted here and from the links to the right, but the refugee crisis, immigration and their perception in the member states are among the most interesting aspects.

According to this survey, as the refugee crisis was intensifying, 47% said immigration is the biggest challenge facing the EU - up from 14% in 2013. In the UK immigration was identified by 52% of respondents ahead of terrorism (39%) and unemployment (38%).

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Two thirds of all Europeans (66% of the total) and 58% in the UK, believe more decisions on migration should be taken at the European level. Opinion ranged from 79-81% in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Germany, Cyprus to 40% in Estonia, Poland and Slovakia.

By a wide majority (78%) Europeans and, by the same percentage, respondents in the UK, agree that asylum seekers should be better distributed among all EU states. The same opinion is shared by 92-97% of respondents in Malta, Sweden, Germany, but, at the other end of the scale, only 31-33% in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Finally, while the arrival of economically active people could be seen as a positive development by some given Europe's ageing population, respondents were very much divided on legal migrants' role in their country's economy: Indeed, an EU average of just 51% of respondents said their countries "need legal migrants to work in certain sectors of the economy", ranging from 72-77% in Germany, Denmark and Sweden and 70% in the UK, to just 19-25% in Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Czech Republic).