If so, then people's expectations and opinions are obviously relevant, since they will strongly influence the relationships and interactions of the host population and immigrants. As far as I know, younger and older generations do generally agree on b).
Finally, if there existed a strong European identity then b) would be almost a non-issue which is another reason why people's opinions matter.
Ok, so what can these european populaces' opinions do?
From my perspective, all these "nationalists"(if we can call them this way) can do is complain about this issue in internet forums like this one. Their countries won't change EU agreements or leave the bloc. You said it well when you wrote:
If so, then people's expectations and opinions are obviously relevant, since they will strongly influence the relationships and interactions of the host population and immigrants.
Ok, but how can that be relevant if they will only
influence the relationships and interactions of the host population and immigrants and nothing besides this? If a person from Eastern Europe is living in a country where people don't like him because he is a foreigner, what can the local people do to him? Treat him badly? Being hostile towards him? What else?
I can give you an example of what I am talking about. My family have a house in Portugal that we go once, twice a year for vacations, there is a woman from Cape Verde who cleans the house when we are there. One day she was telling us that she suffers a lot of prejudice there because she is black, and we asked her: "But why don't you return to your country? Even your sons
are there! It must be so sad to stay here alone!" She answered: "No way, there was hell, I couldn't even eat properly, working here I can send money to my family and some day I want to bring them to live here
You see? That's the pattern of thinking immigrants have, it won't be a little hostility that will change things...
You are the one conflating these issues, nobody expects from the British in Spain, Italy and Greece to assimilate and turn themselves into something they are not, and nobody expects from me or the thousands of Greeks in Britain to assimilate and become British. People, policy-makers and governments expect assimilation from immigrants, not intra-European citizens into some other "nationality", maybe except for some idiotic nationalists who are confused and sad.
LOL. Why the hell the thousands and thousands of british people living in the South of Portugal would want to "assimilate" to the portuguese culture? Only people who had never left their hometown can say things like that.