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People support EU burden-sharing on migration resulting from Arab Spring

People support European Union burden-sharing on migration resulting from the Arab Spring.

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All this and much more has come out with Transatlantic Trends releasing a public opinion survey: “The results of the 2011 Transatlantic Trends: Immigration survey captures U.S. and European public opinion on a range of immigration and integration issues. 

The survey found the Europeans in general were very open to the idea of assisting countries in North Africa and the Middle East, which were experiencing turmoil and consequences of the Arab Spring.

They were in favour of assisting them with either trade (84 per cent, or with development aid (79 per cent).

At the same time, they were cautious of opening their labor markets to migrants from the region. Just about 47 per cent were in favor. The survey found indications that they would prefer that migrants, admitted in, stay only temporarily. As many as 80 per cent of European respondents supported European burden-sharing to cope with the flows emanating from the region.

This year’s survey also reveals that there is a remarkable stability of general immigration opinions over time; and also the public tends to be in favor of highly educated immigrants. At the same time, the public still prefers immigrants with a job offer.

In its fourth year, Transatlantic Trends: Immigration (TTI) gauges public opinion on immigration and integration issues on either side of the Atlantic. The countries included in the 2011 were the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

The survey suggests the basic public attitude on immigration have not changed notably during the previous year. It’s true for Europe as well, where the apparent risk of movement resulting from the Arab Spring was the middle issue.

Immigration was, otherwise, the second order concern for the general public, the first being economy and unemployment.

The perception of immigration as a problem or opportunity have changed little since 2008, when the survey was first carried. In 2011, about 52 per cent of Europeans and 53 per cent of Americans talked to perceived immigration as more of a problem than an opportunity. The strongest pessimism of 68 per cent was witnessed in the United Kingdom.

The survey also found sympathy to the plight of migrants compelled  to flee their homes for a several reasons, such as to avoid persecution, armed conflict, and also natural disaster.

Though fewer, but still a bulk of those talked to were in favor of taking in migrants seeking to avoid poverty. In Spain 76 per cent, in Italy 68 per cent, and in the United States 64 per cent were most supportive of those escaping poor economic conditions, against European average of 58 per cent.

 

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