The limits of diversity in European unity: European identification and preference for internal migration

GT 3.16 "El impacto político y cultural de las migraciones: dinámicas transnacionales, procesos de integración/exclusión e identidad en el mundo actual"

Aleksandra Sojka (Universidad de Granada)
Sesión 1
Día: viernes,22 de septiembre de 2017
Hora: 09:00 a 11:00
Lugar: Aula 0.1.

Across Europe, we are witnessing a strong political, societal, and media mobilization on the topic of immigration, currently perceived as the most important issue to be tackled by the European Union (EU) in the eyes of the citizens. However, not all types of immigration in Europe are perceived equally. Notably, recent public opinion surveys indicate that an increasing number of Europeans hold a more favorable view of internal migrants –mobile EU citizens from other member states–, than of the external migrants from non-EU countries. How is this related to the processes of European integration? Could it simply indicate the emergence of a sense of EU citizenship and a growing acceptance of its basic right to free movement? Or, rather, does it also reveal a less inclusive character of the underlying collective European identity? The paper tackles these questions through a multilevel analysis of recent public opinion data. Two main findings emerge from the research. Firstly, different configurations of national and European identities are relevant to the explanation of preference for internal migration in the EU. Most importantly, those who have integrated supranational identification into their national identities also tend to view internal migrants more favorably than external immigrants and, thus, demarcate European community more strongly than other types of national/European identifiers. Secondly, while not related to the actual presence of migrants and asylum-seekers in the different countries, the surge in preference for EU over non-EU migrants among European public is especially noticeable in the autumn of 2015 and afterward, a possible impact of the refugee and migrant crisis. A more favorable view of internal over external migrants is also strongly associated with a rejection of help to refugees which further indicates a linkage to that crisis. The implications of these findings for the European Union as a political community rooted in the concept of “unity in diversity” are discussed throughout the paper.

Palabras clave: identidad, actitudes, migración, Unión Europea