Migration: Greece

Research Report: Attitudes towards migrants, refugees and national identity in Greece

SCI is pleased to announce a new research report commissioned in conjunction with More in Common; providing the first of its kind of information on attitudes towards migrants, refugees and national identity in Greece.

Among the key findings, this timely and important research found that:

“While Greeks feel deeply disaffected as a result of over a decade of austerity, this disaffection has not been turned broadly against those who have come to Greece seeking refuge. Greeks continue to embrace a culture of Solidarity and Compassion.


This uplifting result provides a more accurate account of what the majority (67%) of Greeks truly feel about migration, and challenges the prevailing populist narrative on migration as articulated by current political leaders and the media.

SCI believes that this report represents an opportunity to craft a more accurate and positive story of how Greeks understand and respond to migration. We are working with civil society organizations, NGOs, municipal partners and others to translate this report’s findings and recommendations into action.

Exec Summary (English)

Full Report (English)

Exec Summary (Greek)

Full Report (Greek)


Additional Top Findings:

  • The Greek population coalesces into six distinct opinion segments – one segment has open and welcoming views (20%), two segments have closed views (18%) and three segments (62%) have conflicting views. However, each individual segment is motivated by unique perspectives and combinations of values.
  • Public opinion is less polarized than many other European nations: despite the immense pressures that Greece is under, opinions are, for the most part, less sharply divided among the different segments.
  • Children deserve compassion: nearly three quarters (74%) of Greeks reject the idea of sending refugees who are children arriving without family back to their country of origin.
  • Fairness is paramount: 94% of the population agree that when the government makes laws, the number one principle should be ensuring that everyone is treated fairly.
  • Refugees’ different cultural backgrounds are respected: 72% of Greeks believe that refugees should be able to maintain their own traditions.


Additional Top Recommendations:

  • Building a positive and engaging story of Greece’s future should start with pride in Greek identity and in the character and efforts of ordinary Greek people at the grassroots.
  • The priority of policy and communications should be the 62% of Greeks who belong to the three middle segments and to engage the values and perceptions they have in common.
  • What Greece has achieved in the face of enormous difficulties should be emphasized as a source of pride for its people.
  • Messages should underscore that helping migrants and refugees does not come at the expense of the needs of Greeks, but that their interests are best achieved when advanced together.
  • Special attention should be paid to the concerns of the Detached Traditionalist segment as this group is a prime target for extremist parties. Efforts should be made to reach the segment in ways that speak to their genuine concerns.

The research, polling and focus groups were conducted by Ipsos Greece in partnership with More In Common.

SCI commissioned additional reports on France, Germany, Ireland and Italy and provided some support to an analogous survey in the Netherlands. More In Common plan to release a summary report of the Netherlands survey later this year. More In Common conducted a similar report in the United States.

Research of this nature has been undertaken by Hope not Hate and others, in England and Wales. SCI commissioned a survey in Northern Ireland in 2019 and will release the findings in early 2020. 


Additional Resources

Borderlands of Despair: First-line reception of asylum seekers at Greek borders –Greek Council for Refugees

Report Overview:
This research focused on the Greek system of first-line reception of third-country nationals and stateless persons arriving and requesting asylum at the country’s borders (island and mainland), in the aftermath of the EU-Turkey Statement of March 18, 2016.

Read the report here.





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