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Understanding the Impact of Narratives and Perceptions of Europe on Migration and Providing Practices, Tools and Guides for Practitioners

Project description

Understanding migrants’ misperceptions about Europe

Existing migration theories focus on the push and pull factors. Of course, economic, social and political factors are central push factors, explaining how aspirations to migrate are formed. How places are imagined or understood to be desirable or attractive is just as important, especially if there are certain false narratives that can influence decisions on migrating. This EU-funded PERCEPTIONS project will focus on people perception. The project will identify misperceptions of the European Union abroad. It will research social media and new communication networks in the distribution of narratives and the myths circulating about the EU. It will develop policy recommendations and action plans.


Narratives of a “better life” that can become reality elsewhere have always been shaping human migration. The image or idea of a “promised land”, however, might not be real, and newcomers are often faced with obstacles and challenges. Certain narratives and perceptions of Europe influence migration aspirations and false images can not only lead to problems when the image does not hold true, but it might also even lead to security threats or risks to migrants. It is, therefore, of the utmost importance to understand and investigate narratives about Europe, how these can lead to problems and threats, how they are distributed, and, in the next step, find ways to react and counteract them. Perceptions of Europe are formed in the country of residence, and they are based on a multitude of sources. Social media and new communication networks, in addition, have increased the scope and the intensity of distribution of such narratives; furthermore, so-called filter bubbles and echo chambers can lead to isolated misperceptions that are not corrected. Due to new communication technologies, false or incorrect claims become life on their own, raising expectations or disapproval. At the same time, however, these technologies and communication networks might also provide a channel to set an exaggerated image straight and promote a more realistic narrative. It is, therefore, the aim of the PERCEPTIONS project to identify and understand the narratives and perceptions of the EU abroad, assess potential issues related to the border and external security in order to allow better planning and outline reactions and countermeasures. For that purpose, the project will conduct research on the narratives and the myths that are circulating about the EU in countries West- and Central Mediterranean areas. Based on the research insights, the consortium will develop a PERCEPTIONS framework model including policy recommendations and action plans.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 726 312,50
Otto-Bauer-Gasse 5/14
1060 Wien

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Ostösterreich Wien Wien
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 726 312,50

Participants (25)