Survey: The willingness of Estonian residents to help war refugees in need has increased in the last six months.

17.12.2015 | 21:06

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Stenbock House, 17 December 2015 – According to the TNS EMOR survey ordered by the Government Office and titled “Opinion Survey of the Estonian Residents’ Attitudes Towards the Refugee Crisis”, the willingness of Estonian residents to help war refugees in need has increased compared to the June of last year.

As of December, every other resident of Estonia (54%) agrees that we should help people in need. In June, 43% of Estonian resident shared that opinion. In terms of refugee reception conditions, entry into work, becoming tax payers, adopting Estonian culture norms and respecting local laws, were considered important actions for refugees (95% of respondents). Most respondents (80%) also find that learning the Estonian language is a necessary condition for settling down in Estonia. 73% of survey participants consider it important to actively support the adaptation of refugees.

The number of people who do not agree with the notion of accepting refugees has decreased – 15% of the population does not agree with welcoming those in need (in June that number was 29%).  People with higher education and older people are more willing to help those in need is, whereas people with a lower education level and people of other nationalities are less willing to help.

Although 54% of the population thinks that those in need should be helped, the willingness to receive refugees is decreased by the concern for security among Estonian residents, i.e. they are afraid that the refugees will not be able to integrate into the Estonian society and crime rates will grow. People with more negative attitudes think that the state should focus first and foremost on dealing with increasing the welfare and solving the problems of current residents.

38% of respondents agreed that they have sufficient access to information on refugees. 15% of survey participants would like to know more about the refugees.  People are mainly interested in what kind of a support system Estonia will be offering to refugees and where they will be located for settlement. Security related topics are also of great interest: will the refugees headed to Estonia be trustworthy, and how will they affect the local way of life. People also want more general information about the refugee crisis, about the criteria for accepting refugees and their background.

However, the Estonian residents’ attitudes towards immigration and migration in general are significantly different than those concerning refugees. Answers show that the majority of the population of Estonia (63% of respondents) support people’s right to travel freely and choose the country they live in. 30% of residents find foreigners settling in Estonia dangerous in terms of the survival of Estonia as a nation and as a country.

The survey was conducted in November 2015, and it was carried out using the method of telephone interviews. A thousand permanent resident aged 15 and up participated in this survey.

You can learn more about the survey here:

Government Communication Unit