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Europeans Feel Most Threatened by IS, Divided on EU

FILE - French police stand next to the entrance of Paris Mosque as French Muslims arrive for Friday prayers in Paris.

Europeans generally see Islamic State (IS) as the biggest threat to their nations, the Pew Research Center reports.

Climate change is the second largest concern of Europeans, ahead of the influx of refugees on the continent from Iraq and Syria, according to the new study "Europeans Face the World Divided" by the Washington-based research center.

Only 17 percent of respondents in the ten European countries surveyed feel IS is a minor threat, and only 3 percent view it as no threat at all to their nation.

Terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels over the past year have put terrorism on the top of the list of concerns of Europeans, and security remains elevated across the continent.

Most Europeans, however, do not feel that military spending should be increased, fearing that increasing military force to fight terrorism only leads to more hate which will increase violence, according to the study.

Brussels was targeted by IS terrorists in March, with 32 people killed in bombings that hit the city's airport and metro. IS also attacked Paris in November of last year, killing 130 people.

FILE - French army paratroopers patrol near the Eiffel tower in Paris, France, March 30, 2016.
FILE - French army paratroopers patrol near the Eiffel tower in Paris, France, March 30, 2016.

The study also found that a majority of Europeans want the EU to play a bigger role globally. Though it seems contradictory to growing disapproval of the Brussels-based organization, it's a criticism in line with complaints that the EU has mishandled the refugee crisis and economic problems on the continent.

Respondents are almost evenly divided on the EU's dealings with Russia.

Though multiple studies, including one released by the Pew Research Center just last week, show that many Europeans may want to follow Britain's example to leave the EU, or at least give more power to the individual states, this study shows that a median of 74 percent of Europeans think the EU should take on a more influential role on the global stage.

Even in the UK, which will vote in a referendum on whether to stay in the EU next week, 55 percent of respondents said the EU should take a more active international stance in the coming years.