The Refugee Reception Crisis in Europe - EUB

The Refugee Reception Crisis in Europe

Polarized Opinions and Mobilizations
First Edition

The refugee question occupied centre stage at every political debate in Europe since 2015. Starting from the "long summer of migration", the polarization of opinions and attitudes towards asylum seekers among citizens of the EU has grown increasingly. The divergence between hospitality and hostility has also become evident in political reactions. Read More

The focus of this book is on the polarization, on the positive and negative attitudes, representations and practices, as well as on the interactions, at the local level, between majority populations and asylum seekers in the context of the 2015–18 reception crisis.

This book has three objectives. First, it intends to examine publicopinion towards asylum seekers and refugees through a European cross-national perspective.

Second, it explains the public opinion polarization by focusing on pro- and anti-migrant mobilization, and investigating the practices of hospitality and hostility in local communities.

The third objective is to understand asylum seekers' and refugees’ own perceptions of receiving countries and their asylum systems.These issues are specifically debated in the Belgian case. The other national case studies include Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Greece and Italy, and have been chosen based on preliminary research on the policy system, public opinion, and geopolitical position.

This book represents the main output of the research project entitled "Public opinion, mobilizations and policies concerning asylum seekers and refugees in anti-immigrant times (Europe and Belgium)" supported by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO/BRAIN-be).

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Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles
Introduction by
Andrea Rea, Marco Martiniello, Alessandro Mazzola, Bart Meuleman,
Edited by
Andrea Rea, Marco Martiniello, Alessandro Mazzola, Bart Meuleman,
Contributions by
Maurizio Ambrosini, Arno Van Hootegem, Pieter Bevelander, Priska Daphi, Elien Diels, Theodoros Fouskas, Anders Hellström, Sophie Hinger, Annie Hondeghem, András Kováts, Alessandro Mazzola, Elsa Mescoli, Bart Meuleman, Andrea Rea, Marije Reidsma, Antoine Roblain, Verena Stern,
European Studies
Supporting Website
Publisher Category
Publishers own classification > Political Science
Publisher Category
Publishers own classification > Sociology & Anthropology
BISAC Subject Heading
SOC066000 SOCIAL SCIENCE / Refugees
BIC subject category (UK)
J Society & social sciences
Onix Audience Codes
06 Professional and scholarly
CLIL (Version 2013-2019)
3091 Migrations et immigrations
Subject Scheme Identifier Code
Thema subject category: Migration, immigration and emigration


Publication Date
18 October 2019
Product Content
Text (eye-readable)
Main content page count : 256, Absolute page count : 256
160 x 240 x 20 cm
421 grams
Version 2.1, Version 3


Publication Date
23 October 2019
Product Content
Text (eye-readable)
Main content page count : 256, Absolute page count : 256
Version 2.1, Version 3

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Preliminary Remarks
INTRODUCTION. – The Refugee Reception Crisis in Europe. Polarized Opinions and Mobilizations | Andrea REA, Marco MARTINIELLO,
Alessandro MAZZOLA and Bart MEULEMAN
The Long Summer of Migration
Who Is a Migrant? Who Is a Refugee?
"Refugee Reception Crisis" Rather than "Refugee Crisis"
Attitudes Towards Migrants and Refugees: Polarized Opinions
Civil Society Mobilization
Motivations and Frames of Mobilization
The Collective Dimension of Mobilization
CHAPTER I. – European Citizens' Opinions Towards Immigration and Asylum Policies. A Quantitative Comparative Analysis
Trends in Economic and Cultural Threat Perceptions from 2002 to 2016
     Cross-national evolutions
     The evolution of perceived threat in Belgium by region
European Citizens' Attitudes Towards Asylum Policy
     Attitudes towards asylum policies: 2002 and 2016 compared
     Explaining attitudes towards asylum policy: Individual and contextual determinants
     Comparing attitudes towards asylum policy with attitudes towards immigration policy
CHAPTER II. – Divided Reactions: Pro- and Anti-Migrant Mobilization in Germany | Sophie HINGER, Priska DAPHI and Verena STERN
     Contextualizing Migration and Asylum in Germany
     The dynamics of (refugee) migration to Germany
     The administration of asylum in Germany
     The politicization of (refugee) migration
Pro-Migrant Mobilization
     Pro-migrant mobilization before 2015
     The development of pro-migrant mobilization since 2015
     Key actors in pro-migrant mobilization
     Key demands of pro-migrant mobilization
     Impact of pro-migrant mobilization
Anti-Migrant Mobilization
     Anti-migrant mobilization before 2015
     Development of anti-migrant mobilization since 2015
     Key actors in anti-migrant mobilization
     Key demands of anti-migrant mobilization
     Impact of anti-migrant mobilization
CHAPTER III. – Pro- and Anti-Migrant Mobilizations in Polarized Sweden | Pieter BEVELANDER and Anders HELLSTRÖM
Immigration and Asylum in Sweden
Response from the Authorities on Arrival
     Change in policy for asylum seekers
The Party-Political Landscape
     Political positions on immigration in Sweden
     The mainstream-left bloc
     The mainstream-right coalition
Actions and Reactions to Changing Policies on Immigration and Integration by the Authorities and in Civil Society
     Pro-immigration engagement in civil society
     Prospects for change
     Engagement in opposition to refugee integration
Concluding Discussion
CHAPTER IV. – The Reception of Refugees and the Reactions of the Local Population in Hungary | András KOVÁTS
and Alessandro MAZZOLA
The Reception Crisis Years
     Asylum statistics of the preceding years
     Chronology of the refugee reception crisis from January 2015 to October 2016
     Developments since October 2016
The Asylum System after the Crisis
     Political communication and public debate
     Reaction of the public – survey and public opinion poll findings
Citizens' Mobilization During and After the Reception Crisis
     Civil society organizations involved in the reception crisis
     The unfolding conflict between the government and civil society
     Summing up the present situation
CHAPTER V. – Unravelling Solidarity and Hostility: Mobilizations Concerning Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Anti-Migrant Times in Greece
| Theodoros FOUSKAS
Immigration and Asylum in Greece
     National strategy for integration
The Political Landscape in Greece: the Politicization of Migration Issues
Pre-Existing Citizen Initiatives and Mobilization in Support of Migrants and Refugees
Pre-Existing Hatred Against Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants: Golden Dawn (GD)
Solidarity Versus Hostility: Pro- and Anti-Migrant Citizen Mobilization since 2015
     Protesting for humanitarian and for hostile causes during and after 2015
     Mobilized citizen profile: "solidarians", raid battalions, activists and self-mobilized citizens
CHAPTER VI. – The Imaginary Invasion: How the Discourse on the "Refugee Crisis" Has Impacted Italian Politics and Society
| Maurizio AMBROSINI
The Context: Immigration in a Historical Country of Emigration
     The construction of the "refugee crisis" in Italy
     The anti-refugee wave in Italian politics
The Opposition of Local Authorities to the Settlement of Asylum Seekers and to Reception Facilities
     The far right and mobilization against asylum seekers
Mobilizations and Initiatives in Favour of Refugees
     Three examples of pro-refugee mobilization
Conclusions: How the "Refugee Crisis" is Changing Italian Politics
CHAPTER VII. – Mobilizations and Opinions Regarding Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Undocumented Migrants in Belgium:
Frames, Motivations and Actions | Elsa MESCOLI, Marije REIDSMA, Elien DIELS, Annie HONDGHEM, Alessandro MAZZOLA,
Antoine ROBLAIN and Andrea REA
Preliminary Remarks on The Research
     Previous research results
     Research topics summarized
Context of the Belgian Asylum Policy
     A history of refugee crises
     Facts and figures
     Multi-level and multi-actor governance
     The involvement of local government in the policy field of asylum
     Policy and discourses of the federal government
     Choice of the field sites: localities with a reception centre
     Grassroots initiatives
     Fieldwork methodology
Pro-Migrant Mobilization Actions – Frames of Mobilization
     The humanitarian (and legalist) rationale in Zeebrugge and Brussels
     The rationale of the "transversal struggles" in Liège
     The refugee reception crisis as humanitarian "momentum" in old and new reception sites
Conflicts between volunteers and centre operators in newly opened centres
Reasons for Mobilization: A Focus on Opinions
     From empathy and solidarity to a subversive will
     Giving and receiving through volunteering
     The "us and them" prejudice
     The cultural citizenship motive
Mobilization Against Reception
     A non-structured polarization
     Information provision and protest
     The pre-opening meetings
Beyond Mobilization: the Impact of a Reception Centre on Local Communities
     Moments of contact
     Neutral cohabitation?
     The impact of the centre on local social ties
Migrants' Opinions and Action
     On asylum procedure: immobility within mobility
     On the reception system and its actors
     Migrants' agency between constraints and autonomy
Biographical Notes