In Hungary, anti-immigrant attitudes are the most explicit and widespread in Europe and remain so even after a slight decrease since 2016, a new study found.
Fifty-seven percent of Hungarians do not want to see immigrants in their country, compared to 3 percent in Sweden and 2 percent in Norway, according to the biennial European Social Survey (ESS), commissioned by the EU, science site Qubit reports.
Researchers of the Research Center for Social Sciences analyzed several accounts of data collection and their results were published in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), the oldest political foundation in Germany. Their studies examined, among other things, the impact of the 2015-2016 migration crisis on European societies and the factors that determine whether people behave acceptably or negatively towards immigrants.
In European comparison, the negative attitude of Hungarians is so extreme, that it even exceeds the attitudes of countries involved in open military conflicts, such as Russia, Turkey and Israel, Qubit notes.
People in post-communist countries in Eastern Europe are more dismissive of immigrants than the populations of countries in Western Europe. A fifth to half of the populations in this region reject the arrival and settling of immigrants from poorer countries outside Europe, while these shares are below 10 per cent in most Western European countries, the survey found.
Vera Messing and Bence Ságvári, the two authors of the survey, were asked by Qubit about the reason for the very explicit East– West divide in Europe in term of attitudes towards immigrants and immigration. Specifically, they were asked why the perception of immigrants in Western European countries has not changed or even improved in the last five years, while it has sharply deteriorated in Eastern Europe.
“The most important conclusion is that the fault line between Eastern and Western Europe in terms of the rejection of immigration has increased,” the researchers outlined.
Hungarians are by far the most dismissive towards immigrants in Europe (57 percent), followed by the Czechs (42 percent), Bulgarians (40 percent) and Slovaks (37 percent).
There are six countries that can be identified as in-betweeners in the continent: attitudes in Poland, Lithuania, Slovenia and Croatia are significantly more positive towards immigrants than the average of post-communist countries, while people in Austria and Italy think more negatively of immigration and immigrants than people in Western Europe do in general.
Featured photo illustration by Tibor Rosta/MTI