The improvement of Europe’s common asylum policy and the integration of refugees and other migrants are among the most pressing issues that EU countries currently face. Reforming Europe’s migration policy, however, has encountered a number of challenges: apart from setting appropriate incentives and guaranteeing the rights of current and future refugees and migrants, the diversity of attitudes of EU citizens towards migrants and migration policy has become a crucial obstacle for reform. Attitudes matter as they feed into electoral outcomes, influence the strategic behavior of political actors and shape national and European migration and integration policies – policies that in turn impact the inflow and the integration of current and future migrants. Despite their increasing relevance, however, we currently know relatively little about the determinants and effects of public attitudes towards refugees and migrants.
In this interdisciplinary project, MEDAM researchers seek to close that research gap. Acknowledging that changes in attitudes can be driven by economic fundamentals, previous migration experience or specific events, we study the micro- and macro-foundations of citizens’ attitudes towards migration and refugees. In doing so, we work towards improving the understanding of the determinants and effects of natives’ attitudes and strive to eventually generate policy advice for reforming Europe’s common migration and asylum policies.