German millennials 'most welcoming' of immigrants in all of Europe

Lea Legraien
A Syrian refugee waves a German flag at a Pro-Merkel rally: Rex

German millennials are the most welcoming of immigrants in all of Europe, in spite of a perceived increase in negative attitudes towards immigrants and refugees in the country.

A study of more than one million 18-34 year-olds from 35 European countries, led by German broadcasters ZDF, SWR and Bayerischer Rundfunk, reveals most young people have no confidence in their countries’ governments and religious institutions, while slightly less than half are pessimistic about their future.

On immigration, among more than 200,000 participants from 11 European countries, some 80 per cent of German youth believe that immigration enriches cultural diversity in their country.

Overall, an average of 73 per cent of European millennials felt positively about being part of a multi-cultural population.

Last year Germany saw a total of more than 3,500 assaults on migrants and asylum seekers, as well as 2,545 attacks against individual refugees last year.

Angela Merkel faced numerous criticisms following a series of deadly attacks involving asylum seekers, that some claim are the outcome of her open-door immigration policy implemented in 2015.

During the Berlin Christmas market attack last year, a truck driven by asylum seeker Anis Amri ploughed into a crowd killing 12 people and injuring 50.

Commenting on the survey's findings, Pauline Wipfler, a 21-year-old student from Cologne told The Independent: “Most immigrants worked hard to integrate in the German society. I think that the German culture has truly benefitted from new influences especially in bigger cities.

“It’s important for both sides to be open to other cultures so we can learn from each other and also accept cultural differences,” she said.

"Most Germans can differentiate the few immigrants causing problems from the immigrants doing their best to integrate well, which are the majority in my opinion."

Only 24 per cent of people surveyed agreed that in times of economic crisis and low level of employment, jobs should be reserved for their own native citizens.

The results of the study came soon after a recent poll from the market research institute Allensbach showed a drop in public support for anti-immigration Alternative für Deutschland party in Germany.

More than a million asylum seekers are believed to have arrived in Germany since the refugee crisis began in 2015.

Asylum seekers are now being offered money to return to their home countries amid fears the country cannot cope with the influx and widespread criticism of Ms Merkel’s “open door” policy.