Since Europe experienced its 2015/6 large-scale arrivals, immigration has never been so high on the political agenda of the European Union and several of its Member States. News of these arrivals spread through Europe’s fragmented media and political landscape. This discussion brief aims to capture the changes and drivers of public opinion on EU migration policy since 2015/6. To what extent have the media, fake news, national politicians, EU officials and migrants themselves reshaped public opinion? What are the differences across Europe and the implications for EU policymaking?
The desk research for thisdiscussion brief took advantage ofthe explosion in public opinion research in recent years. The wide geographical coverage of these studies fill the major gap in research on media and public opinion on immigrants in Central Europe. Changes and drivers of EU public opinion have been identified through multivariate analysis of the European Social Survey and Eurobarometer as well as recent literature reviews, for example thanks to the Observatory of Public Attitudes to Migration. The increase in innovative survey experiments and panels allows researchers to better understand public decision-making and the effects of (dis)information. Several EU-wide reviews have been commissioned of the recent migration media coverage, while investigations by practitioners have revealed the importance of media ownership and social media campaigns.