Europe as a place of economic opportunity

Perceptions about Europe, spread both on an individual and European scale, play a crucial role in the decision to undertake migration routes from non-EU countries to Europe. People who migrate are often driven and motivated by a set of expectations and objectives centered on the possible improvement of their living conditions, which seems to encourage – and be encouraged by – idealistic, often overly positive visions of what European countries are like. In particular, these imaginaries related to Europe are often tied to narratives in which a certain standard of wealth, job offers and opportunities, as well as easy accessibility to housing, education and health care, emerge. However, once in Europe, the frequent contrast between this idealised vision and the actual conditions and opportunities lead to a mismatch between expectations and reality.

This brief summarises the results of the field interviews conducted within the PERCEPTIONS project, giving voice to migrants and the perceptions of Europe that they had before and after their arrival in Europe.


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