Europeans’ number one concern is no longer migration, a new survey of a European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) revealed. Europeans turned out to be much more worried about domestic issues such as corruption, health, housing, cost of living and joblessness. The survey mirrors different concerns throughout the bloc. Rising cost of living is a main concern mainly in France, where 36% of the respondents agreed. Only 21% said the main issue was migration.
This result comes as a blow to the rightist leaders such as Viktor Orban, Matteo Salvini, and Steve Bannon who are convinced that the upcoming elections to the European Parliament are, first of all, a poll on migration. Hungarians, in turn, as well as Italians and Greeks are concerned by corruption while the Spanish are mostly concerned by unemployment. ECFR is not the only institution that came up with this fairly surprising result. Other organizations such as WeEuropeans or citizen consultations on Europe in France confirmed the ECFR’s findings.
“Viktor Orban, Matteo Salvini and Steve Bannon are attempting to transform these elections into a referendum on migration, by mobilizing a sovereigntist coalition to dismantle the EU from the inside,” said Mark Leonard, Director of ECFR. “The results should warm the hearts of pro-Europeans and demonstrate that there are still votes to be won on major issues such as climate change, health, housing and living conditions,” he said. Still, in Western and Southern European countries, such as Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden, that have been the most affected by the migration crisis of 2015, voters are largely supportive of the related Commission proposal on migrant relocation that has never been accepted.