The fight against discrimination in Europe

How are various proposed measures to fight against discrimination in France, the United Kingdom and Spain perceived by the general public?

Paris, 1st February 2016 – At the request of the Maison des Potes, Harris Interactive conducted a survey in three major European countries to question their inhabitants on various possible measures to fight against discrimination. Conducted simultaneously in France, the United Kingdom (UK) and Spain, the survey sought to measure the support or otherwise the opposition to these measures in different national contexts.

What are the main findings of this survey?

  • In all three countries, more than two respondents out of three declared being in favour of four measures : guarantee the same pay and the same pension to all persons performing the same work, regardless of their nationality (82% favorable in France, 76% in the UK, 89% in Spain); strengthen legal sanctions in Europe against employers guilty of discrimination (80% in France, 82% in UK, 90% in Spain), allow class action lawsuits for victims of the same discrimination (75% in France, 69 % UK, 86% in Spain) and finally implement anonymous curriculum vitae in case of applications examined by employers (72% in France, 75% in UK, 83% in Spain).
  • Three other proposed measures gave rise to more mitigated responses, Spaniards still being largely more favourable while the French and British were more divided in their support : regularisation of undocumented foreign workers with a work contract (56% favorable in France 58% in the UK, 77% in Spain), allow non-EU nationals to become public servants (53% in France, 60% in the UK, 70% in Spain) and finally extend the right to vote in local and European elections to non-EU nationals ( 48% in France, 56% in the UK, 71% in Spain). On these last two points, it is to be noted that respondents were informed that these provisions already exist for foreigners from countries of the European Union, information that is probably not shared evenly among the general public.
  • As a whole, Spaniards were consistently the most favourable to each of the proposed measures, while the French and British expressed more divided opinions. One should have in mind that Spain has already undertaken extensive campaigns for the regularisation of undocumented workers (particularly in 1996 and 2005), that might perhaps explain the particularly favorable attitude of the Spaniards on this subject (77% favoured the regularisation of undocumented workers, in comparison to less than 60% in France and the UK).
  • For all the proposed measures, it should also be noted, that certain segments of the population are nearly always more favourable than the average respondent. In all countries surveyed, young people (18-34) and those with at least one parent who had a foreign nationality at birth are more likely to respond favorably to each of these proposals. The same can be said in France for the supporters of the political Left, as well as the supporters of the British Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats. In Spain, though the most popular measures reached consensus, those that divided the public opinion a bit more (like the right to vote in local elections or the right for foreigners to become public servants) are also more supported by people who identify with a political party of the Left, mainly the PSOE or Podemos.


Survey conducted online on the 16th and 17th December 2015. Samples representative of the national population aged 18 and above: 1 050 people in France, 1 050 people in the United Kingdom, 930 people in Spain. Methodology used based on quotas adjusted with the following variables: gender, age, socio-professional category and region of the interviewee.

Please note that the publication of these results should be accompanied by the technical elements namely : the methodology used, the dates when the survey was done, the name of the polling organisation – Harris Interactive –, the size of the sample.

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Contact Harris Interactive in France:
Laurence Lavernhe – 39 rue Crozatier – 75012 Paris
Tel: 01 44 87 60 94 – 01 44 87 60 30 –

Jean-Daniel Lévy – Directeur du Département Politique & Opinion
Tel: 01 44 87 60 30 –


  • Discrimination
  • Engalnd
  • Europe
  • France
  • Opinion Polling
  • Spain