Understanding free movement and migration in the European Union
Attitudes on welfare benefits
REMINDER researchers analysed public opinion data to understand how people feel about both intra-EU mobility and migrants from outside the EU. In particular, they looked at views on whether different types of migration should be restricted and perceptions of the impact these different groups have on public finances. Generally only about one respondent in 10 differentiated between EU and non-EU migrants, and most wanted either general restrictions on migration or general openness, irrespective of whether the migrants were from the EU.
The team found evidence that EU nationals who think that immigrants have a negative fiscal impact on the welfare state (i.e., consume more in services than they contribute in taxes) are much more likely to support restrictions to immigration inflows, by a margin of 30 percentage points. However, the relationship between perceived welfare impacts and support for immigration does not appear to be linked to whether the migrants in question have European origins.