Narrative Publications


What are Europeans’ views on integration of immigrants?


This paper provides an in-depth description of public opinion about immigrants’ integration in European countries, as captured in the 2017 Special Eurobarometer on this topic. It highlights a near consensus among European respondents on the meaning of integration, but more variation across countries regarding policy options to support integration. It also shows that positive opinions about immigration are often associated with a favourable public perception of integration. Looking at the individual correlates of opinions about immigration and integration, this paper finds that actual knowledge about the magnitude of immigration is positively correlated with attitudes to immigration but not integration. In contrast, more interactions with immigrants are associated with more positive views on integration but not necessarily on immigration.

What are Europeans' views on integration of immigrants.pdf

How the world views migration

Executive Summary

How the World Views Migration provides, for the first time, an insight into public attitudes towards immigration worldwide. The findings presented here – based on interviews with over 183,000 adults across more than 140 countries between 2012 and 2014 – represent the first steps towards understanding the lenses through which people view immigration at a global level.

Adults surveyed in Gallup’s World Poll were asked two questions about immigration: 1) In your view, should immigration in this country be kept at its present level, increased or decreased? 2) Do you think immigrants mostly take jobs that citizens in this country do not want (e.g. low-paying or not prestigious jobs), or mostly take jobs that citizens in this country want?

Foremost among the report’s findings is that in every major region of the world – with the important exception of Europe – people are more likely to want immigration levels in their countries to either stay at the present level or to increase, rather than to decrease. This contrasts with the negative perceptions of migration often portrayed in the media in certain regions of the world.

European residents appear to be, on average, the most negative globally towards immigration, with the majority believing immigration levels should be decreased. However, there is a sharp divergence in opinions among residents in Northern and Southern Europe. The majority of adults in Northern European countries – except for those in the United Kingdom – would like immigration levels to either stay the same or increase, while most residents in Southern European countries would prefer to have lower levels of immigration to their countries. More broadly, residents in less than half of the 40 countries in the larger European region are more likely to favour decreased immigration levels than the same or higher levels.

Negative and positive opinions towards immigration exist in every region and every country; however  certain sociodemographic characteristics are more consistently associated with favourable or opposing attitudes to immigration. The study finds that adults with a university degree are typically more likely than those with lower levels of education to want to see immigration kept at its present level or increased in their countries. Similarly, younger people generally tend to be more positive towards immigration. In contrast, negative attitudes in relation to immigration levels are more likely found among those who are unemployed than those who are employed.

People’s views about their personal and their countries’ economic situations may be the strongest predictors of their views of immigration. Those who perceive economic situations as poor or worsening are more likely to favour lower immigration levels into their countries. The reverse is also true: those who perceive their individual or their countries’ economic situations as good or improving are more likely to want to see higher levels of immigration.

Although people’s outlooks on their national economy, personal standard of living and household income are strong indicators of their views of immigration levels in their countries, these do not appear to be such strong predictors of people’s opinions about competition between national workers and immigrants in their countries’ labour markets. Public opinion as to whether migrants compete with national workers for jobs is, however, generally aligned with opinion about immigration levels: among the countries surveyed, on average, residents who do not see migrants as wanting the jobs citizens in their countries want tend to be more open to immigration in their countries.

How the world views migration.pdf

Report by the Migration Council: Understanding Migration - Managing Migration



Acceptance by the population is the prerequisite for a successful national migration policy. This democratic approach to migration has determined the agenda of the Migration Council from the beginning of its activity. The developments in the field of migration at national, European and international level have been found to be of crucial importance for the future of Austria. It is therefore not surprising that the further development of the national migration strategy was incorporated into the current programme of work of the Federal Government. In April 2014 – at a time when the refugee crisis had not yet reached a level of visibility that would have caught the public’s attention – Johanna Mikl-Leitner, then Minister of the Interior, established the “Migration Council for Austria” as an independent body not bound by instructions. The mandate given to the Council was to elaborate substantive foundations for a national migration strategy. As a first step, the Migration Council for Austria defined the target that was to serve as the basis and the focal point of its entire work: Austria should remain a secure and stable state in which people can live in prosperity.

This objective clearly reflects the intention of the Migration Council for Austria: Austrian migration policy has to focus clearly on Austria’s interests, though not without safeguarding the interests of the regions of origin. In the elaboration of forward-looking recommendations, the Council was confronted with the task of summarising the positions in favour and against migration in a meaningful way and developing a reasonable approach well suited to mediate between conflicting interests. On the one hand, migration contributes substantially to the preservation of security, stability and prosperity. If the innovative strength of industry and research is to be maintained and if the demand for skilled labour in Austria is to be adequately met, incentives have to be created for quality-based and qualification oriented migration. With this goal in mind, the Migration Council has devised a range of possible strategic approaches. On the other hand, it must be recognised that migration represents a burden for the systems of the state and can even present
a risk for security, stability and prosperity. The Migration Council has drafted recommendations, especially targeting the political system, the media, public security and state-run institutions, showing how to shoulder the burden and counteract the risks.

In a time of global challenges and global responsibility, these seemingly conflicting positions for and against migration represent an inseparable complementarity. To preserve the economic strength of the democratic state under the rule of law and to safeguard its resilience in the event of a crisis, qualification-oriented migration, as a valuable input factor for the economy, has to be increased. It takes a strong and stable political structure to assume global responsibility and provide humanitarian assistance for those most in need of protection and to do so on a long-term basis.

This concluding report is structured as follows: The introduction and the summary of the study on “Future Migration Scenarios for 2030” by the Centre for Future Studies of the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, which the Migration Council used as a basis for the discussion of its recommendations, is followed by a presentation of facts. These illustrate the contribution that migration can and should make to the economy, the labour market, education and research, and – especially in view of demographic developments – to health care and the social sector. The subsequent section of the report describes the conditions under which political and state-run institutions operate and highlights the need for migration to be governed by a clear regulatory regime, which also needs to be implemented in practice. Next, the interests of the regions of origin and possible perspectives for a migration policy aimed at strengthening these regions in a sustainable way are outlined. Finally, on the basis of these findings, conclusions are drawn regarding the design of a future migration system.

From the very beginning, the Migration Council attempted to take a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach, and set itself the goal of taking all forms of migration – legal and irregular migration as well as asylum – adequately into account. The refugee crisis, which hit Europe towards the end of 2014 and reached a peak in the autumn of 2015, was included in the considerations of the Council, whose work had started long before that time. However, it was the Council’s conscious decision not to focus primarily on the refugee crisis. Its mandate was not to present an asylum report that marginally covers other forms of migration as well, but to elaborate a comprehensive migration report.

Nor was the Migration Council called upon to comment on current affairs or to get involved in such discussions. Based on the status quo, it was expected to issue well-founded recommendations with a special focus on the long-term perspective – particularly with regard to the country’s responsibility vis-à-vis the regions of origin. Although long-term targets tend to be unpopular, as they do not promise instant success that can be achieved overnight, taking a long-term view of migration is the only way to set the course for achieving the long-term target: preserving Austria as a secure and stable state where people can live in prosperity.

The mandate of the Migration Council for Austria ends with the presentation of this concluding report to Wolfgang Sobotka, the Federal Minister of the Interior. The authors hope that the Ministry of the Interior will develop a national migration strategy for the Federal Government on the basis of the recommendations of this report. As far as I
am concerned, the productive work of the Migration Council in recent years has shown that an institutionalised body of experts, set up to advise the Federal Minister of the Interior on migration issues, is a meaningful option for the future.

Report of the Migration Council.pdf

Shifting Narratives on people on the move: a new approach

The international community has widely acknowledged the dominate presence, damaging impact and the need to dramatically change negative narratives about people on the move. Many attempts to shape or improve narratives regarding social issues focus primarily on data and statistics (the numbers of displaced people, the benefits they provide to the economies, etc.). Our approach is different: we will advance a new based on connecting to closely held values. Our proposal introduces a new method to craft a positive image of migrants, refugees and their families: creating narratives based on the values of the stakeholders we want to engage, and inspired by the rule of law, democracy, human rights and human dignity.

We propose applying the Public Will Building model which is a strategic communication approach that focus on engaging people—based on their closely held personal values. The end goal is change that is sustainable because it is owned by the very people who demanded it. Public will building advances values-based narratives by utilizing the full range of engagement channels, from grassroots outreach to mass, social and direct media tools. The combination of connecting tools through values and using multiple engagement platforms leads to a deeper public understanding and ownership of social change. By creating lasting shifts in community expectations that shape the way people think and act—and in what way they demand of the systems and policies that affect their lives and communities—new social norms are realized.

Shifting Narratives on People on the Move, Proposal from Narratives Group of the Migration Laboratory, 2018.pdf

Migration Narratives in Europe: Through conversations on public social media

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung commissioned Bakamo Public to conduct social media listening on the discussion
around migration in 28 member states of the European Union.

This research defines the term migrants as "people living and working outside their country of origin."*
Using this definition, the study analyzed posts and comments published within 28 EU member states on
public social media from 31 July 2017 until 1 August 2018.

The goal of the analysis was to identify Pan-European migration narratives: thematic topics that appear in
all EU member state discussions concerning migration. We aimed to compare the size of these narratives in
each country and identify regional similarities.

The research analyzed the influence of European and domestic politics on the local migration discourse,
and identified key conversation channels and overall tone of discussion for each country.



Migration Narratives in Europe - Through conversations on public social media, Bamako Public for the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 2019.pdf

Media Coverage of Migrants and Refugees in Audiovisual Media

On June 28 2018, CNMC and the Mediterranean Network of Regulatory Authorities (MNRA) organized a one-day international high-level workshop on the “Informative Treatment of Mediterranean Migrant and Refugee Crisis on the Audiovisual Media”. The event was hosted by CNMC in its headquarters in Barcelona (Spain).

The aim of the conference was to carry out a public reflection on the social responsibility of media, public administrations, regulators and civil society about the coverage of the crisis and to explore collaborative responses to contribute to an objective, inclusive and impartial representation in the audiovisual media.

The discussion focused on three separate but interlinked topics: the analysis of the role of audiovisual media in shaping public attitudes towards migrants and refugees; the identification of best practices to develop collaborative responses between the relevant actors and the role of the audiovisual regulators as guarantors of fundamental rights.

The high-level workshop brought together journalists, audiovisual regulators, civil society as well as national, EU and international policy makers, seeking robust and joint responses to address media coverage of migrants and refugees in the media, and the creation of a framework for inclusive and positive responses.

The CNMC-MNRA workshop draws on the Barcelona Declaration on the Informative Treatment of Mediterranean Migrant and Refugee Crisis on the Audiovisual Media1, adopted by the MNRA on 18 November 2016.

This report brings the main discussions and conclusions of the workshop. It starts by summarizing each of the sessions. In a final section, the report provides a summary of the key conclusions and recommendations generated during the debate.

Media Coverage of Migrants and Refugees in Audiovisual Media, CNMC-MNRA, 2018.pdf

GFMD Thematic Workshop "Narratives on Migration Toward evidence-based Communication": Highlights of Proceedings

The Ecuadorian Chairmanship of 2019 comes at a timely moment for global migration governance: the magnitude of international migration and forced displacement has led the international community to address these issues at the highest political level by endorsing the two Global Compacts - one for Refugees (GCR) and the other for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) -- in December 2018.

As the GCM states in its guiding principles, "we also must provide all our citizens with access to objective, evidence-based, clear information about the benefits and challenges of migration, with a view to dispelling misleading narratives that generate negative perceptions of migrants." This highlights the need for the international community to work towards distilling evidence-based and objective information on migration and migrants.

In view thereof, the GFMD 2019 Chair Ecuador, in partnership with the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, convened the GFMD Thematic Workshop entitled “Narratives on Migration: Toward an evidence-based Communication” on 4-5 July, in Rabat, Morocco. The aim of this workshop was to initiate an open discussion, allowing a variety of stakeholders (governments, civil society, private sector, academia, media, etc.) to analyze in depth the mechanisms that shape public perceptions of migration issues. Additionally, the workshop focused on the issue of data, and its collection and analysis, in order to present the public with objective, clear and evidence-based public discourses, reflective of the reality on the ground.

The workshop convened around 150 local and international participants representing UN Member States, civil society, the private sector and international organizations.

Highlights of proceedings - GFMD Thematic Workshop 'Narratives on Migration Toward evidence-based Communication', 2019.pdf

Understanding public attitudes towards refugees and migrants

  • Engaging effectively with public attitudes towards refugees and migrants requires understanding the real world concerns, emotions and values around which attitudes are formed.
  • These efforts work best when clearly rooted in national and local contexts, and the nuances of public attitudes within them.
  • Traditional approaches to public engagement, such as ‘myth-busting’, may have exacerbated negativity and are unlikely to resonate beyond those who are already supportive. While evidence remains important in influencing policy debates, strategies must acknowledge its limitations as a persuasive tool.
  • Emotive and value-driven arguments may have more traction than facts and evidence. Successful strategies might highlight the manageability of the situation, while emphasising shared values.

Understanding public attitudes towards refugees and migrants, Helen Dempster and Karen Hargrave, 2017.pdf

Media Coverage of the Migration Crisis in Europe: a Confused and Polarized Narrative

There is no doubt that what has been termed the migration or refugee crisis in Europe has been framed in the public and media discourse as the defining phenomenon of the second decade of the 21st century. And there is no doubt that the media coverage of the mass movement of people escaping continuing violence and wars in the Middle East and persecution elsewhere into Europe has deflected attention from the continuing phenomenon of mass displacement – internal displacement and population movements within nation states due to persecution and natural disasters – and the flight of Syrians into Jordan, Turkey or Lebanon since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011...

Media Coverage of the Migration Crisis in Europe - a Confused and Polarized Narrative, Dina Matar, 2017.pdf


In the current global context of polarized perceptions related to immigration, there is a pressing need to counter harmful and inaccurate narratives about migration and migrants. Yet, evidence-based arguments have often failed to resonate with audiences, while misinformation and myths have spread rapidly with negative implications.

Shaping the public narrative on migration and migrants - A Guide to Promoting a Balanced Dialogue, GFMD, 2020.pdf