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Immigration, climate change and housing are more often seen as a problem in the Netherlands than in the rest of the EU

12 October 2023

The Eurobarometer, a six-monthly opinion survey by Verian (formerly Kantar Public) that is carried out on behalf of the European Parliament, shows that immigration, housing and climate change are seen as problematic much more often in the Netherlands than in the rest of the European member states. According to Bart Koenen of Verian, this is largely explainable. “These three topics are key points for most political parties in their campaigns for the upcoming House of Representatives elections.” 

The three topics receive a lot of attention in the national media, partly due to the political campaigns, and the news media in particular have an important agenda-setting function. “The media does not so much determine how people think about these topics or why they find them problematic, but rather ensures that these are the topics that are most talked about and discussed.” For example, immigration is seen as one of the two most important problems by 30% of Dutch people, while this is much less in the rest of the EU countries at 14%. “However, the definition of 'problematic' is open to multiple interpretations. “For example, one person finds the shortage of reception places for asylum seekers problematic, while in the other's perception the high influx is the biggest problem.” 

Discord over climate change 

We see the same discord with the subject of climate change. In the rest of the EU, 16% consider climate change to be one of the two most important problems of the moment. In the Netherlands this is a lot higher at 45%. “But here too, within this group of concerned citizens, we see a division of opposing opinions in the public debate. For example, a large group of Dutch people see climate change and its consequences for the environment as the biggest problem of the moment, while many other Dutch people see the measures to combat climate change as the big problem.” 

More consensus on the residential market 

The subject of housing is also seen as a problem in the Netherlands more often than in the rest of the EU (30% versus 10%). According to Koenen, public and political opinions about the problems in the housing market are closer together, but the housing shortage in the Netherlands is actually a bigger social problem than in most other EU countries. “The housing shortage affects large groups of people, in both the owner-occupied and (private) rental sectors. However, the consensus on how to solve this is much greater than when it comes to the topics of immigration and climate change.” 

This article was issued under our former global brand name: Kantar Public.  

Bart Koenen
Client Consultant

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