Magazine article European Social Policy

Eurobarometer : Future Looks Bleak for Millions of Europeans

Magazine article European Social Policy

Eurobarometer : Future Looks Bleak for Millions of Europeans

Article excerpt

According to a recent Eurobarometer poll carried out in April, Europeans are pessimistic about their future. Almost half of those questioned (49%) feel that their quality of life in 20 years' time will be lower than today. Less than four out of ten Europeans (38%) think that their lives will improve. Age appears to be a determining factor in that the older people are then less optimistic about their quality of life in 20 years but tend to be more so if they have a higher level of education or live in an urbanised environment.

Residents of new member states tend to be more optimistic, with 59% of the population believing that their lives will improve compared to 32% in the EU15. On the other hand, only 24% of citizens in new member states expect to be worse off in 20 years compared to 56% in the EU15.

In general, citizens believe that social infrastructure will deteriorate in several areas. Eight out of ten citizens feel that social inequality in their country will increase. Seven out of ten believe that it will be difficult to find accommodation at reasonable prices and that many people will be unable to pay for necessary medical treatment and that even the most qualified persons will not be guaranteed a good job. Some 57% of the EU population believe that people will earn less because of competition from emerging countries.

Of all the countries, the Germans (90%) are most inclined to believe that the rich-poor divide will grow, with the Estonians (54%) and Maltese at the other end of the scale with 53%. The Greeks (77%) feel most strongly that salaries will drop with the impact of competition from emerging countries, with the Lithuanians (30%) the least likely to share such an opinion.

GREATER SOLIDARITY

Faced with these challenges, the Eurobarometer clearly illustrates that there is room for increased solidarity and less individualism in society. …

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