03/11/2004

Quality of life in Europe

Although differences in living conditions are considerable, values and
priorities determining quality of life across Europe are not very different:
having a good job is ranked as the highest factor for a good life across
Europe, and the fight against unemployment is universally perceived to be one
of the most important means of improving the economic and social conditions of
family life. These are the main conclusions from a joint report on living
conditions and quality of life by the European Commission and the European
Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, providing a
social picture of the Europe of 28 countries on the eve of enlargement.

'The results of the survey support an integrated employment policy, focusing on
higher employment rates to achieve better quality job', said Willy Buschak,
the Foundation's acting Director. 'With this report, we have for the first time
an analysis of social conditions across all 28 current and future Member
States, plus candidate countries. It also represents the launching pad for the
Foundation's monitoring initiative of quality of life in Europe, completing the
Foundation's monitoring tools on industrial relations and working conditions in
Europe'.

The survey found that good health, sufficient income and having a family are
the three main factors contributing to a good life for the majority of
Europeans.

The majority of Europeans agree that having a job provides not only income but
also social contacts, self-esteem and a better quality of life. Those who have
been unemployed for at least two years over the previous five years report
lower satisfaction with life in general, with family life, with social life,
and with health than those who have been in continuous employment.

However, poor working conditions have a detrimental effect on several areas of
satisfaction. Those who work overtime, in high intensity jobs, or in jobs that
are physically or mentally demanding, report lower satisfaction levels than
those who work under favourable conditions. About 20% of working Europeans
blame work for bad or even disrupted social relations. This percentage is
higher in the acceding and candidate countries (27%) than in the EU 15 (19%).
Furthermore, 61% of those who report having psychologically burdensome jobs,
54% of those with physically demanding jobs, and 49% of those working at high
intensity claim to have difficulties in their relations with family and friends
due to work.

Further Information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions