Recent political developments across Europe and beyond illustrate people’s concerns about the impact of globalisation in general and migration in particular on key aspects of their lives: their safety and security; their economic prosperity and in particular access to jobs; and their own identity and values. Perceptions vary significantly from country to country, but negativity generally prevails. Increasingly, refugees and migrants, including children, have become the flash point around which fear and uncertainty have converged.
Research undertaken in 2016 in France, Germany, the UK & Sweden identified worrying high levels of fear that refugees would increase the likelihood of terrorism (between 45 and 60%). Sweden furthermore displayed a very significant fear (over 45%) about refugees being more associated with crime. Respondents throughout the 4 countries also expressed fears with regard to social security and their jobs. Fears among populations are not being countered by a more positive narrative which brings people together rather than divide them, thus making societies more vulnerable to right wing populist propaganda.