Poll: One-third of Estonians support accepting refugees (16)

Displaced women in a refugee camp in Sicily (Reuters/Scanpix)
6/26/2015 5:21 PM
Category: Society

According to a survey commissioned by the Estonian Government Office and conducted by a professional market research company TNS Emor, 32 percent of Estonian residents would agree to admit refugees in the country.

The poll shows that 42 percent are against and 26 percent remain either neutral or undecided in this matter.

Over half of the respondents, 57.7 percent, care about the refugee issue, 22 percent are neutral and just over 20 percent don't pay any attention at all.

Almost 42 percent agree that displaced persons need help. The empathy is stronger among the young, 15-24 year-olds, people with higher education, and non-Estonian residents. For example, 59 percent of Estonian Russian-speakers support helping the Mediterranean migrants. People in rural areas are less keen to aid those in need, arguing that immigrants may be a risk to their safety.

The approval to assist the refugees is highest among Tallinn and Tartu inhabitants.

On June 26, EU government heads agreed not to follow through with the EC's migrant quota plan to solve the Mediterranean refugee crisis. It was decided that a voluntary agreement between the countries is preferable to a forced obligation. However, EU leaders agreed that a new proposal will be put forward in July on how to resettle the 60,000 refugees, 40,000 of whom are currently in Italy and Greece, and 20,000 in refugee camps outside of the EU. This will be based on all member states agreeing to resettle asylum seekers on voluntary basis.

Estonia will now get a stronger say in how many refugees it will receive. The National Audit Office of Estonia is currently preparing an audit to analyze the capacity of the state in various areas, including education, social protection, integration, healthcare and so on, to accept refugees. Minister of Internal Affairs Hanno Pevkur said Estonia is capable of accepting between 84 and 156 refugees.

S. Tambur

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