Migrants at a rally in Naples, Italy | Photo: ANSA/CIRO FUSCO
Migrants at a rally in Naples, Italy | Photo: ANSA/CIRO FUSCO

A Eurobarometer survey has found that over a third of all Italians felt that immigration is the most important issue for the EU to deal with. In contrast to other EU citizens, Italians seemed less convinced of the need to introduce a common EU-wide asylum system.

Some 34% of Italians says they believe that immigration is the most important issue for the EU to address at the present. However, they appeared to by less convinced than other EU citizens about one of the common suggestions to address the bloc-wide migration situation: only 63% said the support the idea of a common European as asylum system – compared with an EU average of 66%.

In certain places in the EU, support for an EU-wide asylum system peaked at a much higher popularity, with 89% of the population in favor of the plan in Cyprus and at 86% in Germany

The figures were published as part of the latest Eurobarometer report by the European Commission.

Immigration top concern across EU

Similar to Italy, many European citizens in other countries were also worried about the issue of immigration. On average, 34% said that this was a key concern for them. The issue of climate change came only in second place with 24%, following by economic issues with 18%.

The subject of terrorism has dropped over the past few years, with only 15% of Europeans saying this was a key policy issue for them.

Italians among least satisfied EU citizens

In Italy specifically, the most important worry after immigration was unemployment, with 29% saying that this was a key issue to them. Meanwhile, 25% of Italians said that the economy was an important concern, at third place. Climate change came in fourth place with 18%.

The survey also found that Italy is among the last places among all 28 member states in all sections of the survey measuring citizen satisfaction with EU policies. Only 30% of Italian citizens said they felt that their voice counts within the bloc, compared with a 45% average. Only 45% said they were satisfied with how democracy works within the EU, compared with a 52% bloc-wide average.

Just over half of Italians (55%) feel they are EU citizens compared with an average of 70% across the entire bloc.

A question of confidence

The survey found that 52% of Italians did not have any confidence in the EU, while only 38% said they did – one of the lowest percentages at the European level. Only three other countries express less confidence in the EU: Greece with 34%, France with 32% and the UK with 29% (which is due to leave the bloc at the end of January 2020).

The countries expressing the highest levels of confidence in the EU were Lithuania at 66% and Denmark at 63%. The bloc-wide average was 43%.


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