A recent poll commissioned by the Government Communication Office showed that Estonians’ attitudes towards foreigners as well as refugees have improved, compared to previous polls taken in 2015 at the high point of the migration crisis.
While in June 2015 63% of respondents supported the free movement of people within the European Union and the Schengen area, this number has risen to 75% in December 2016. The number of people who agree that people in need of help should be taken in has increased also, from 43% in 2015 to 56% in this most recent survey, daily Eesti Päevaleht reported on Tuesday.
Pollster Aivar Voog commented that a large part of the population had been in shock when the migration crisis suddenly became an issue. The fears connected with the topic had been expressed in the surveys done at the time. Now, with some distance, attitudes had changed.
The expectations towards refugees remained the same, the survey brought out. Estonia’s residents still expect them to find work and pay tax, integrate in terms of accepting the local cultural norms, and that their arrival didn’t affect Estonia’s social welfare system negatively.
The survey also asked respondents who they thought were the most trustworthy politicians in terms of migration policy. Among respondents who identified themselves as ethnic Estonians, chairman of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE) Mart Helme got the most support, among those who identified themselves as non-Estonians it was the Center Party’s Yana Toom.
The survey was carried out by polling firm Kantar Emor in October.
Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn