Two thirds of Latvian population against refugees

Slightly more than two-thirds of Latvia's residents oppose the accommodation of refugees from Northern Africa and Middle East in Latvia, according to a public opinion survey by the "Latvijas fakti" company carried out at the behest of the Greens and Farmers Union political party.

When asked whether Latvia, in solidarity with other European Union member states, should take in refugees from Northern Africa and Middle East countries, 69 percent of respondents said no.

18.1 percent said yes, 12.9 percent had no opinion.

Latvians are even more opposed to refugees than non-Latvians - 71.9 percent and 64.9 percent respectively. 17.3 percent of surveyed Latvians and 19.2 percent of non-Latvians said Latvia should take in refugees.

Residents 55 to 64 years old are the most skeptical, whereas the highest support for refugees was voiced by younger respondents aged 18 to 24.

The survey also finds that men are more tolerant of refugees than women. 20.1 percent of male respondents agreed that Latvia should take in refugees, while the proportion for female respondents was 16.4 percent.

"Latvijas fakti" interviewed 1,004 residents of Latvia from September 11 to September 21.

Meanwhile EU leaders agreed early Thursday to set up by the end of November special registration centers in frontline states, European Union (EU) President Donald Tusk told a press conference after an emergency summit.

"Hotspots will be set up by the end of November," Tusk said. The aim is to separate refugees fleeing war from economic migrants.

The EU's president urged leaders gathering for an emergency summit Wednesday to stop fighting over a refugee quota deal and take urgent action to secure the bloc's borders in the face of "millions" of migrants.

Draft summit conclusions called for more aid to affected countries outside the bloc including the western Balkans and Syria's neighbors Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.

As reported, Latvia has agreed to voluntarily take in a total of 776 refugees.

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