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Survey: Many Europeans Link Refugee Wave With Rising Terror Threat

Refugees from Afghanistan arrive in an overloaded rubber dinghy at the coast near Lesbos island in Greece (file photo).

A survey conducted in 10 EU member states has found that many Europeans believe there is a connection between the refugee crisis and the increased threat of terrorism in Europe.

Europe received more than 1 million migrants in 2015 -- a majority of them Muslim refugees from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan -- with most of them applying for asylum in Germany and Sweden.

The survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center found that in eight out of the 10 countries surveyed, at least half of those interviewed believe refugees will increase the likelihood of terrorism, with Hungarians and Poles topping the list, with 76 and 71 percent, respectively.

Both countries have received a relatively small number of refugees.

The survey, conducted before the British referendum to leave the EU, also covered Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Britain, France, Spain, Italy, and Greece.

In five out of the 10 countries, at least half of those surveyed also see migrants as a potential economic burden and a threat to their jobs and social benefits.

Hungary and Poland again finished on top, with 81 percent and 75 percent, respectively.

Germany and Sweden -- by far the largest recipients of refugees -- are the only countries where at least half say migrants make those countries stronger because of their hard work and talents.

Meanwhile, the survey said, right-wing populist parties in the EU successfully increased their numbers by campaigning against Muslim migrants, including the National Front in France, the U.K. Independence Party, the Alternative for Germany, and Austria's Freedom Party.

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