Public Opinion in the EU on Immigration from Outside the Community*


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    We would like to thank Gwendolyn Sasse, Eiko Thielemann and the participants at the London ‘Migration and Minorities in Europe’ workshop; the University of Texas Research Grant Program and Public Policy Institute for financial support; Hyo Bin Im, and Jong Seok Woo for research assistance; and Terri Givens, Anthony Messina, Marc Rosenblum, James F. Hollifield, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.

Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station A1800, Austin, TX 78712-0119, USA, email:


This article explores the impact of symbolic and instrumental variables on European Union opinion on immigration and asylum. Using Eurobarometer surveys from 1988 to 2000, descriptive and multivariate statistics are employed to measure the impact of prejudice, ideology, attitudes towards the EU, unemployment, economic conditions, migration flows, and individual-level demographic characteristics on measures of attitudes towards immigration policy and foreigners. Although standard demographic factors are associated with the dependent variables in the manner expected, there are less compelling or inconsistent effects of individual or macro-level economic variables. The best predictors of immigration positions are attitudinal variables including political ideology, prejudice and evaluations of the EU.