Should We Support or Should They Go? Public Opinion on the Role of State in Helping Refugees in Europe.

Saturday, 21 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Tuba BIRCAN, University of Leuven, Belgium, HIVA - KU Leuven, Belgium
The Syrian crisis has reached its sixth year and the durability of the crisis bolsters tensions occurring at a political level between European countries. Alongside political disagreements and differentiation between states, another source of concern derives from the growing discrepancy in citizen’s support to the refugees. There has been an on-going debate about the responsibilities of the European countries towards more than one million (Syrian) refugees fled from the war zone. Variant political rhetoric, mainly focuses the challenges with refugee influx, is stuck between “controlling” the refugee inflow and “helping” refugees in need. In this context, the socio-economic burden of the situation rivals with its humanitarian aspect. There exist no unanimous response to the refugee crisis among European countries on a political and individual level. The aim of this paper is thus to explore the role of states in helping refugees and asylum-seekers on the public opinion about refugee support. Due to the hierarchical nature of the research question, we will opt for a multilevel approach. Data from 2016 Eurobarometer survey will be used to employ multilevel models to analyze the impact of the refugee influx on the public opinion on if the country is responsible for helping refugees. On contextual level, in particular, the magnitude of the refugee inflow in the host country, the political standing (supportive or critical) of the government towards refugee crisis, and European state typologies (Western, Nordic, Eastern) will be investigated to explain individual differences in attitudes toward their countries’ support for refugees.