Perceptions about Europe, spread both on an individual and European scae, 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.
Through the support of the results of the field interviews cunducted within the Perceptions project this brief aums on one ahnd to tell, through the voice of migrants, the perceptions of Europe that they had before and after their arrival in Europe. On the other hand, through the analysis of positive and negative mismatches, it aims to provide the reader with a toool to understand how expectations and reality intersect to give shape to a more complex European landscape.
In particular, this brief aims to analyze perceptions related to Europe as a place of social opportunity. From the results of the interviews conducted it emerges, on the one hand, that justice and freedom are the two main axes on which the narratives linked to Europe are structured but, on the other hand, that reality encountered after arrival by the majority of women and men is in contract to expectations.