Survey: Terrorism, immigration top EU citizens' concerns
Two new surveys show that immigration and terrorism continue to be seen as the most important issues facing the EU, albeit at a slightly lower level than at the last survey in spring 2016.
EU flags | Photo credit: Press Association
The surveys also suggest that support for the European Union's priorities and policies remains strong, and has increased since spring 2016.
These are two key results of the latest Standard Eurobarometer survey published on Thursday, together with the Special Eurobarometer survey, “Future of Europe”.
Asked about their main concerns, immigration remains on top of the issues facing the EU most frequently cited by citizens (45 per cent,-3 percentage points since spring 2016).
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Terrorism (32 per cent,-7) remains the second most frequently cited item. It is well ahead of the economic situation (20 per cent,+1), state of member states' public finances (17 per cent, +1) and unemployment (16 per cent,+1).
Immigration is number one concern for the EU in all member states, except Spain and Portugal.
At national level, the main concerns are unemployment (31 per cent,-2) and immigration (26 per cent,-2). The economic situation is in third place (19 per cent, unchanged).
Compared to the previous survey of spring 2016, support for the priority topics set by the European Commission has increased further, the surveys say.
Regarding the issue of migration, 69 per cent of Europeans say they are in favour of a common European policy on migration and 61 per cent are positive about migration of people from other EU member states. However, 56 per cent are negative about immigration of people from outside the EU.
Some 81 per cent of Europeans are in favour of the "free movement of EU citizens who can live, work, study and do business anywhere in the EU".
Majorities of respondents support free movement in all countries.
Secularism, as a bulwark to radicalisation, should be a key EU foreign policy priority, argues the European Foundation for Democracy's Tommaso Virgili.
If Europe is serious about fighting terrorism and extremism, the institutions of the EU need to be more actively engaged in the current situation involving Qatar, argues Richard Burchill.
Europe is lagging behind in exploiting the potential of its helicopter sector, argues Jaime Arqué.