Attitudes Towards National Identity, Immigration, and Refugees in Greece


This report provides insight into the attitudes of Greek people towards their country and its place in the world, their sense of national identity, and their views on immigration and refugees. It does this through the lens of a segmentation study that identifies six main groupings of opinion among Greeks. 

Perhaps more than any other country in Europe, Greece has been profoundly affected by the economic fallout from the financial crisis that began in 2008, the subsequent sovereign debt crisis and then by the large-scale arrival of refugees in the mid-2010s, in which Greece operated initially as a transitory country and then as a host country. Few Greeks have been left unaffected, and after a decade of crisis and austerity, progress still feels painfully slow. This contributes to a deep sense of disaffection among Greeks, but a key finding of this study is that for most Greeks, this disaffection has not been turned against those who have come to Greece seeking refuge.

This study demonstrates that Greeks do not divide neatly into two groups that are either ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ migrant. Public attitudes are more nuanced, and the majority of Greeks hold a mix of views: a combination of empathy and a commitment to hospitality for those in need on the one hand, and concerns about the impacts of the migrant population on overstretched public resources, and on the retention of Greek culture and traditions on the other hand. The way that some Greeks simultaneously hold these views can sometimes appear contradictory, however it reflects patterns found in other countries. By understanding and addressing these concerns - and not misinterpreting those concerns merely as xenophobia - there is a pathway for Greece to navigate the challenges of hosting and integrating newcomers into their culture, as has happened in past episodes of Greek history. There is, in fact, a much greater level of consensus on key questions than what is often assumed.