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‘Syrian Refugees Not Welcome in Eastern Europe’ — 70 Percent of Hungarians Oppose Admission

by Penny Starr

A Gallup poll released on Friday shows that large majorities in Eastern Europe oppose allowing Syrian refugees admission to their country.

“Hundreds of thousands of Syrians were still seeking asylum [in Eastern Europe] last year,” the report on the survey said. “If many in Eastern Europe had their way, however, the number would be zero.”

 “In nine out of 15 Eastern European countries and areas surveyed in 2016, at least half the population believed their country should not accept any Syrian refugees,” the report said.

Gallup reported that many of the countries with the strongest opposition to allowing Syrian refugees are located along the Balkan route used by asylum seekers from Greece to Germany, which was effectively closed last March after European leaders made a deal with Turkey.

The agreement required that for every Syrian migrant sent back to Turkey, one already in Turkey would relocate to the European Union, Gallup’s report explained, noting that its survey took place after the deal was struck.

Hungarians represent the highest percentage of Eastern Europeans opposed to Syrians being allowed into their country, with seven out of ten, 70 percent, opposing refugee relocation.

“Sentiment was similarly high (66 percent) in non-EU member state Macedonia, which was on the front lines of the migrant wave in 2015 and sealed its border with Greece to keep them out,” Gallup reported. “No more than 8 percent of residents in any country or area surveyed in 2016 said their country should accept all Syrian refugees.”

The poll also revealed that people with larger Muslim populations, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, and Kosovo, were more open to allowing refugees from majority-Muslim Syria. Kosovo was the most open to accepting a limited number of Syrian refugees, with 49 percent.

“The quandary now, and likely going forward, is how to deal with the division in Europe about what to do with the refugees who are already there and those who may still come,” Gallup concluded about its poll. “Leaders from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic — where public opinion is firmly against accepting refugees — have openly rejected the EU policy that calls for member states to take in a quota of refugees.”

More than one in three in EU member states and non-EU member states in Eastern Europe say their countries should accept a limited number of Syrian refugees.

Breitbart London reported a poll last month that showed attitudes in Poland towards non-European migrants hardening, with a majority opposed to the admission of migrants from Africa and the Middle East.

About 74 percent of Poles are against admitting migrants from those regions, according to the poll data, as just 20 percent of Polish respondents are in favor, and five percent have no opinion, Radio Poland reported.

Results in the Gallup poll are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adults in each country, aged 15 and older, conducted in April to July 2016, with a more than three percent plus-or-minus margin of error.

“In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls,” Gallup noted.

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