Immigration tops econ­omy, jobs as main con­cern for Euro­peans in EU opin­ion poll

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Immigration is the main con­cern of Euro­peans, ahead of eco­nomic prob­lems and un­em­ploy­ment, ac­cord­ing to a new opin­ion poll re­leased by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion.

A sim­i­lar poll last Novem­ber had the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion, em­ploy­ment, and public deficits top of the list.

Since then immigration has been a hot topic, with Italy, Greece and Malta hav­ing to deal with un­prece­dented ar­rivals by sea from Africa and the Mid­dle East.

The latest flash­point is in Calais, north­ern France, where each day hun­dreds of mi­grants at­tempt to flee France to sneak across to the UK via the Chan­nel Tun­nel.

Ac­cord­ing to the study, re­leased on Fri­day, 38 per­cent of re­spon­dents across the Euro­pean Union cited immigration as their top con­cern.

This is­sue is “now way ahead” of the eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion which was the fore­most is­sue for 27 per­cent of the peo­ple polled, and un­em­ploy­ment (24 per­cent), the study said.

“It is the num­ber one most fre­quently cited con­cern in 20 Mem­ber States reach­ing peaks in Malta (65 per­cent) and Ger­many (55 per­cent).”

The “ex­pec­ta­tions for the econ­omy are im­prov­ing and sup­port for the euro re­mains sta­ble,” ac­cord­ing to the find­ings of the “Spring 2015 Stan­dard Euro­barom­e­ter” poll.

Con­cern for ter­ror­ism at EU level has also in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly since Novem­ber, up six points to 17 per­cent.

In Italy, where tens of thou­sands of mi­grants have fled aboard rick­ety boats across the Mediter­ranean, immigration was the top con­cern for 43 per­cent of peo­ple.

Ac­cord­ing to the study, the num­ber of Euro­peans who say they have a pos­i­tive im­age of the EU has risen from 39 per­cent last Novem­ber to 41 per­cent in May, with only 19 per­cent hav­ing a neg­a­tive im­age.

The poll was con­ducted through face-to-face in­ter­views in May with more than 30,000 peo­ple across the EU’s mem­ber states and can­di­date coun­tries.

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