Getting the EU blues

3rd July 2008, Comments 0 comments

Survey shows that EU citizens see the future as bleak

Brussels -- Four fifths of European Union citizens think that retirement will come ever later, and almost two thirds think that not even a good education will guarantee a good job in the next 20 years, a survey released in Brussels this week showed.

Even more bleakly, half of EU citizens think that people's lives will be worse in 20 years' time, while just 38 percent think the opposite, the Eurobarometer poll of over 25,000 people in all 27 EU member states revealed.

This week, the EU's executive, the European Commission, is set to propose a series of laws aimed at boosting European citizens' quality of living by cracking down on discrimination, softening the impact of globalisation and making access to health care in other member states easier.

The survey, ordered by the EU executive ahead of the presentation, paints a grim view of Europeans' social expectations.

Eighty one percent of those surveyed, for example, said that the gap between rich and poor in Europe would increase, 70 percent said that many people will not be able to afford medical treatment and a similar proportion believe it would be hard to pay for housing.

Meanwhile, 61 percent expect family ties to become weaker, while just 37 percent expect people to give more time to each other and to good causes, the poll found.

The survey threw up striking differences between EU member states. Only in two of the 15 countries in the bloc before 2004 did a majority of people think that life in 2028 would be better: Ireland (67 percent) and Sweden (51 percent).

Indeed, the most pessimistic population in the bloc was that of founding member Germany, with just one in five thinking life would be better.

By comparison, eight of the 12 countries which joined the bloc in and after 2004 recorded 50 percent or even higher optimism. EU newcomer Estonia was the most optimistic of all, with seven out of 10 thinking life would be better.

And the survey did hold out some hope for social improvement: almost three quarters of respondents said that men and women would get more equal opportunities at work, while 70 percent said that men will take more of a share in daily housework.


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