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01 April 2019

Public attitudes on migration – Rethinking how people perceive migration

Cover of the report

This study published by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) aims to provide a better understanding of public attitudes towards migration in 17 selected countries on both sides of the Mediterranean and to explain what accounts for these attitudes, with an emphasis on the role of the media. The report summarises previous findings, provides new analyses and makes recommendations on how to communicate on migration in a non-polarising manner.

Key findings

  • Attitudes in Europe towards immigration have been stable and, in recent years, have even become more positive.
  • Europeans express preferences for migrants who can assimilate socially. Europeans state that labour market issues like professional qualifications are less important, and racial and religious backgrounds are unimportant.
  • While attitudes towards immigration have held stable, the perceived importance of the issue of migration has risen sharply across Europe.
  • Europeans increasingly associate the EU with insufficient control at external borders, though far less so than they associate it with freedom of movement.

Based on its findings, the report makes a series of recommendations about communicating on the topic of migration, specifically aimed at ICMPD stakeholders and media professionals.

Public attitudes on migration – Rethinking how people perceive migration
(6.26 MB - PDF)


Observatory of Public Attitudes to Migration - Migration Policy Centre, European University Institute, Florence
Geographic area
EU Wide
Contributor type
International organisation
Original source
Posted by
Alina Esteves
Country Coordinator

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