European Web Site on Integration - European Commission

Navigation path

Europe: Preliminary results of the 1st ever study on democratic under-representation of immigrants

The “Pathways to Power” research project presented its preliminary results on the political representation of immigrant-origin MPs in Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. This study is the first of its kind to compare in a systematic way the political representation of citizens of immigrant origin across European countries.

Key findings: 

  • Immigrants and their descendants are under-represented in national parliaments in all countries, with the greatest progress made in the Netherlands and UK and the least progress in recent destination countries, in Southern Europe
  • Immigrant-origin MPs represent both men and women and a diversity of ages and education levels, depending on the country, although immigrant-origin MPs like most MPs are likely to hold a university degree
  • Left-wing/centre-left parties are more likely to have immigrant-origin representatives, though not in Southern Europe
  • Before election, immigrant-origin MPs tend to have less political experience in parties and sub-national offices 
  • After election, immigrant-origin MPs are also under-represented in key position in committee and party leadership

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (FR).

Continue reading

Download the full findings in the format of a dozen PowerPoints

Download the project overview