Europeans fear refugee influx raises terror risk, new survey shows

A majority of Europeans fear the recent refugee influx will heighten the risk of terrorist attacks and cost their countries jobs and social benefits, a new survey shows. The Pew Research Center study shows growing concern about the historic influx of more than one million asylum seekers last year and about the integration of minority groups, Muslims in particular. In eight of the 10 countries surveyed, representing 80 per cent of the European population, at least half of the public believe that “incoming refugees increase the likelihood of terrorism in their country”, the survey learned. The study also showed that majorities in seven of 10 countries saw the arrival of refugees as “a burden on our country because they take our jobs and social benefits”.

The recent surge of refugees into Europe has featured prominently in the anti-immigrant rhetoric of right-wing parties across the continent and in the heated debate over the UK’s decision to exit the European Union.

Pew Research Center

The view was held most strongly, by 76 per cent of respondents, in Hungary and by 71 per cent in Poland – both countries which have received proportionately few migrants as their governments have adopted a tough stance toward refugees. In Germany – the largest EU economy, which last year took in the biggest number of migrants and refugees – 61 per cent shared this concern, while 60 per cent of Italians and 52 per cent of British voiced the same fears. Paradoxically, in France, a country hard hit by jihadist attacks in 2015, only 46 per cent thought the danger of an attack had increased.