80% of interviewed citizens in 15 countries of Europe consider him/herself “concerned” about illegal immigration. However, a percentage between 86 and 91% of interviewed is aware that migrants are exposed to being exploited by organised crime or in the frame of the labor market and only 20% consider the “total closure of borders”as a solution.
These are some of the results of an international survey implemented in the beginning of 2017 in 15 European Countries (Albania, Belgium,Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Spain) in the frame of a European project leaded by the Italian NGO “Fondazione Falcone”. The survey was conducted by University of Palermo (Italy) andUniversity of Valmiera (Latvia), involving some 3.800 citizens andresults were presented during an international meeting held at the University of Valmiera on 21-22 April 2017.
The aim of the survey was to explore the perception of migration inthe concerned countries, in order to explore how organized civil society can implement actions and activities to prevent or counter xenophobic or racist behaviors and promote co-operation between non-governmental organisations, institutions and research centers. Theproject is supported by the “Europe for citizens” program of the European Union and will last until April 2018.
The survey has shown also quite big differences in the perception, between different countries. For example, while only 1% of Portuguese or Spanish citizens consider closing border as a solution, 48% of Czech citizens see it as the best solution.
An interesting aspect of the survey, come from the perception of therelation between migration and organised crime. While 53% ofinterviewed persons, agrees on the idea that migration phenomenonincrease criminality, an even bigger percentage consider migrants asvictims of the criminality. 61% of interviewed considers indeed thatorganized crime recruits migrants due to their weaksocial/economical/living conditions. This data comes together with those related to the vulnerability ofspecific migrants groups: according to 61% of the statistic sample,migrants women are at risk of being exploited in labor market, as wellas 51% of the sample, consider child labor among migrants as awidespread phenomenon.
A surprising result of the survey comes from the question aboutpolitical priorities for national governments. Indeed, according to 31% of interviewed persons (the higherpercentage) “limitate immigration” is a political priority, coming before “combating organized crime” (20%), “Stop bank speculation”(19%), “Protect right of freedom and speech” (13%) and other issues.
According to researchers who analyzed the data: “The research is rich of interesting data showing that in concerned countries, besides being a widespread opinion that there is a relation between migration and organised crime, it is clear to the majority that this is related to the social vulnerability of migrants. Data give us the possibility to know general perception about migration and focus on relevant differences among countries, age and social groups and to understand the level of acceptance or rejection of a multicultural society.”