European Public Opinion and Migration: Achieving Common Progressive Narratives (2019)

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Introduction

Attitudes towards migrants are difficult to grasp – but they are less divided than populists would have us believe. Nevertheless, an increasing number of Europeans feel uneasy about people who escape poverty and violence in search of a decent and safe life far away from their home. This European uneasiness is expressed in fears that range from unfair competition in the labour market and reduced access to social services in the host countries to the perceived threat posed by migrants to national identities, ethnic homogeneity and security. The aim of this book is to try and shed light on the paradox that the disadvantaged and marginalised represent an imminent threat to our societies. It also aims to explain the origin of a political short circuit that is affecting public opinion right across Europe and impacting on electoral results, political dynamics and immigration policies in many EU member states. This anti-migrant backlash is altering – sometimes dramatically – the balance of power between mainstream parties and so-called populist and extremist ones. It is even changing the face and soul of the European Union.

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