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Post-enlargement migration and public perception in the European Union

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This chapter analyzes the role of public perception in intra EU migration. Different member states have different histories, cultures and political realities vis-a-vis migration in general and intra EU migration in particular. This leads to a role of public perception that varies between topics and between countries. The paper analyzes the veil, Poles in the UK and Roma in Italy.The study reaches four conclusions. First, there is a clear link between public perception and migration policies. It is clear that Roma migrants are treated differently in Italy than in other similar member states with relatively small native Roma population irrespective of their numbers or profile. The same picture emerged in the discussion on the veil. Second, the dual causality of migration and public perception was confirmed. In particular, the case of Poles in the UK shows that public perception prior to arrival of Poles was more negative than afterwards, partially because initial fears were based on imaginary things that might have happened after migration. Third, there is also a link between performance of migrants on the labor market and perception. With Poles in the UK case, the causality mainly runs from performance to perception. In the case of Roma in Italy, the causality was mainly from perception to performance, as it is in the case of the veil. Fourth, there has been a silent but noticeable recent positive shift in public perception on migration. It is, however, too early to conclude that there is a clear trend for three reasons. First, the trend is very recent. Only data from the last two years show the trend. Second, there could be a backlash resulting from the financial crisis. Third, there are still large differences across member states, with some member states seeing a worsening of the tone in the debate. The discussion on Roma in Italy underlines this point. © 2010 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.




Canoy, M., Horvath, A., Hubert, A., Lerais, F., & Sochacki, M. (2010). Post-enlargement migration and public perception in the European Union. In EU Labor Markets After Post-Enlargement Migration (pp. 71–107). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

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