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UK Insights

Immigration now most important issue in Europe

Claire Davies

Former editor and head of content

Policy 14.08.2015 / 17:25

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Immigration jumps from 4th to 1st in list of priorities

The issue of immigration has become an increasing priority in Britain and across Europe, according to the spring 2015 Eurobarometer survey.

The study by Kantar's TNS Opinion asks 28,000 people across the 28 member states about the most important issues they face, in their own country and in Europe as a whole. Immigration has risen from the fourth most important issue facing Europe as a whole (in 2014) to top of the list.

The economic situation is in second place (cited by 27% of Europeans) although in Cyprus (47%), Greece (40%) and Spain (37%) it is the most important problem facing Europe. Concern about terrorism has risen sharply (17%, +6) following the terrorist attacks which have taken place in France and Denmark, and a thwarted attack in Belgium, since the autumn 2014 Eurobarometer survey.

With the recent press coverage of the migrant camps in Calais, we can compare the differences between the French and UK data. When looking at the issues facing Europe, France and the UK are in agreement that immigration is the most important issue, 36% of Brits and 34% of French put it in their top two priorities. When we ask about concerns at a national level, immigration is still the number one priority in Britain (35%), whereas just 12% of French people include it as a top-two most important issue facing France. The French are more concerned about unemployment (65%) and the economic situation (19%). Just 9% of Brits and 4% of French people say immigration is an important issue when asked "personally, what are the two most important issues you are facing at the moment."

When asked about immigration of people from other EU member states, the UK is split, with 48% seeing it as positive and 46% seeing it as negative (6% - don't know), and the figures are similar in France (45% positive v 44 negative). When asked about the immigration of people from outside the EU, 55% of Brits and 58% of French say it evokes a negative feeling, while 39% of Brits and 29% of French say it evokes positive feelings.

To read more and download the full data, visit the Eurobarometer website.

Source : Kantar, Kantar TNS

Editor's Notes

This survey was carried out by the TNS Opinion & Social network in the 28 Member States of the European Union between the 16th and 27th May 2015 . Some 27,758 respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed face-to-face at home in their mother tongue on behalf of the Directorate-General for Communication, "Strategy, Corporate Communication Actions and Eurobarometer" unit.

Journalists, for more insights and data into Britain's membership of the European Union, please contact us. To keep up to date with the latest news from Kantar UK Insights, sign up for our email alerts.

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