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Political Science in Europe

Immigration from Central and Eastern Europe and Public Support for European Integration

Europe (Central and Eastern)
 
European Politics
 
Immigration
 
European Union
 
Presenter
Elitsa Kortenska
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden
Authors
Dimiter Toshkov
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden
Elitsa Kortenska
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden

Abstract
While it is well-established that negative attitudes towards immigrants strongly decrease public support for European integration, the impact of actual immigration levels on immigration attitudes remains controversial. As a result, the relationship between immigration levels and EU public support remains uncertain from a theoretical point of view. We offer an empirical analysis of the link between immigration from the ‘new’ EU member states from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and EU support in four countries - the Netherlands, Spain, France, and Ireland by combining regional level data on the presence of CEE immigratns, political attitudes and EU support. The analysis shows that in all four coutnries a higher number of CEE immigrants is associated with lower EU support even after we control for potentially important economic and political variables. For France and the Netherlands we decompose the effect into a direct and indirect (mediated through anti-immigration attitudes) parts with the hep of causal mediation analysis. We also show that the the effect of immigration presence is moderated by levels of unemployment in the Dutch case.
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