Crossing Divides: Europe ‘More Split’ Than Decade Ago

Posted by on June 9, 2018 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living with 0 Comments

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By | BBC NEWS

Most Europeans believe their countries are more polarised than 10 years ago, and 47% see their societies as less tolerant, a poll for the BBC suggests.

In the online Ipsos Mori poll spanning 27 countries, 66% of people in Europe felt their nations were “more divided”, the highest proportion worldwide.


Politics emerged as the main cause of tension globally, being identified by some 44% of all 19,428 respondents.

Half of Britons cited a divide between immigrants and nationals.

It was the source of social division most commonly identified in the UK, followed by differences of religion (47%), ethnicity (41%) and political views (40%).

The worldwide results showed that three-quarters of respondents agreed that their society was divided, with one-third of those saying it was “very divided”.

Fractures were also perceived to be growing deeper, with a clear majority saying their country was more polarized than 10 years ago. Only 16% of respondents believed divisions were less acute today.


The European picture

The poll collected information from 11 European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Serbia and the United Kingdom.

Serbia was where perceptions of differences were strongest, with 93% of respondents saying their society was either very or fairly divided.

“All Europe shows a similar trend, with at least three out of four respondents saying that their respective society is very or fairly divided,” said Ipsos Mori’s Glenn Gottfried, who oversaw the fieldwork.

Mr Gottfried said Europeans appeared to believe divisions had grown more pronounced.

“This could be a reflection of the political climate and a swing towards the right that we have seen in parts of the continent, or at least the political climate could be a result of people feeling more tensions. The two are correlated,” he said.

As in Britain, respondents in Germany and France most often identified a division between immigrants and nationals.

Yet more traditional perceptions of social divisions persist, Mr Gottfried added.

“Tensions based on class and income still exist. In Britain, for example, about a third see tension between rich and poor, and in Hungary more people see tension between rich and poor than in relation to immigrants.”


Serbia’s haves and have-nots

Dejan Anastasijevic, BBC Serbian Service

About 80% of the population are Christian Orthodox Serbs, so there are no grounds for stark ethnic or religious divisions.

But Serbia holds a record income-inequality among European countries, according to last year’s GINI index measure of inequality.

A quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, while the wealthiest 20% earn 10 times more than the poorest fifth. In the EU, this ratio is five-to-one. The gap between the haves and have-nots has widened over the last five years.

Politically, there are sharp divisions over Kosovo, which broke off from Serbia in 2008. Accepting the territory’s independence (without formally recognizing it) is a precondition for Serbia’s accession to EU.

But while most Serbs want EU membership, they also want Kosovo back. So the debate is always heated.

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