UK citizens are more concerned about religious extremism than almost any other country in the European Union (EU), according to Special Eurobarometer 371 on Internal Security published today and available at:
The study formed part of wave 75.4 of Eurobarometer, undertaken in all 27 member states of the EU for the European Commission’s Directorate General for Communication (Research and Speechwriting Unit).
UK fieldwork was conducted by TNS between 4 and 19 June 2011 through face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 1,342 adults aged 15 and over. Both Great Britain and Northern Ireland were surveyed.
Respondents were asked what they considered to be the most important challenges facing the security of, first, their own country’s citizens and, then, all EU citizens.
Their replies were assigned to pre-coded categories which were neither shown nor read out to them. A maximum of three unprompted answers was permitted.
Religious extremism was deemed a threat to national security by 10% of the UK sample. The EU27 mean was 6%, with only The Netherlands (15%) and Belgium and Denmark (11% each) recording higher figures. Germany’s was the same as the UK’s.
Within the UK religious extremism was judged the seventh greatest challenge, after terrorism (47%), organized crime (25%), economic and financial crises (24%), illegal immigration (23%), poverty (14%), and cybercrime (11%).
Lesser concerns in the UK were petty crime (9%), insecurity of EU borders (8%), environmental issues (7%), corruption (6%), natural disasters (3%), wars (3%), and nuclear disasters (2%).
The pattern was very similar when UK adults were asked about threats to all EU citizens. Religious extremism again scored 10%, against the EU average of 6% and a high of 15% in The Netherlands, with 12% in Belgium and 11% in Denmark. Terrorism topped the UK list on 41%.