The recent lone-wolf terrorist attacks on the beachfront in Nice and on a train in Bavaria are likely to fuel existing anti-refugee, anti-Muslim fears in a Europe made uneasy by large-scale attacks in the last year in Paris and Brussels. As of writing, it is too early to say whether the ongoing violence in Munich will add to this grim toll.
Nevertheless, these sentiments are particularly prevalent among people on the right of the ideological spectrum in many European nations, according to a recent Pew Research Center surveyof 10 countries in the European Union. Given Europe’s tragic history with right-wing political movements and the recent rise of avowedly anti-immigrant parties in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, this ideological divide does not bode well for the future of social harmony in a Europe that has a rapidly growing immigrant population.
Data from 29 European countries show that the median share of immigrants — refugees, recent migrants, as well as long-time foreign-born residents — in the population is 12 percent, according to a recent Pew study.
The proportion of immigrants in individual countries ranges from as high as 18.3 percent in Sweden to as low as 1.6 percent in Poland. In some countries this share is rising, mainly due to the large number of asylum seekers entering Europe in the past year.
In Sweden and Hungary, for example, the portion of the population that is foreign-born grew by 1.5 percent and 1.3 percent respectively between 2015 and 2016.
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