Tuesday

1st Dec 2020

European countries among happiest in the world

People living in European countries are among the happiest in the world, according to a new survey measuring health, wealth, education and sense of identity.

Denmark tops the list of 178 countries closely followed by Switzerland, Austria and Iceland. Also in the top 20 are Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Norway.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The least happy Europeans live in the Baltic countries - Lithuania (155), Latvia (154), Estonia (139) – followed by Slovakia (129) and Hungary (107).

In between, Germany ranks 35, the UK 41, Spain 46, Italy 50, France 62 and Poland 99.

The survey showed that happiness is found to be most closely associated with health, followed by wealth and then education.

"There is a belief that capitalism leads to unhappy people," said UK Leicester University social psychologist Adrian White responsible for the report.

"However, when people are asked if they are happy with their lives, people in countries with good healthcare, a higher GDP per capita, and access to education were much more likely to report being happy," he explained in a statement.

At the very bottom on the list were the African countries Burundi, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"The concept of happiness, or satisfaction with life, is currently a major area of research in economics and psychology, most closely associated with new developments in positive psychology," Mr White added.

"There is increasing political interest in using measures of happiness as a national indicator in conjunction with measures of wealth."

A recent BBC survey found that 81 percent of the UK population think their government should focus on making people happier rather than wealthier.

The survey was based on the findings of over 100 different studies around the world, which questioned some 80,000 people in total under the banner of organisations such UNESCO, the CIA and the World Health Organisation.

Fish complicates last push for post-Brexit deal

"If the UK wants a deal here, there's a deal to be done. If the UK wants to use fish as an excuse not to have a deal, then that could happen too," Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney warned.

Green Deal

EU emissions down 24% on 1990 - but still off 2030 target

Emissions regulated under the EU's carbon market fell by 9.1 percent in 2019, although aviation emissions continued to increased. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to lead to "an unprecedented fall in emissions" in 2020.

Investigation

EU taxpayers in the dark on US corona-drug deal

The EU recently signed a huge contract for a US anti-corona drug which, the WHO says, might not work, but there's little transparency on how the deal was made.

News in Brief

  1. EU medical agency to decide on Pfizer and Moderna vaccines
  2. Euro-bailout fund to also help banks
  3. Trade unions urge date for pay transparency directive
  4. 33 governments must answer youth climate lawsuit
  5. US slams Hungarian article for Soros/Hitler comparison
  6. Sturgeon doesn't rule out 2021 Scottish independence vote
  7. Hungary's Orban and Poland's Morawiecki meet again
  8. Gran Canaria migrant camp dismantled

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  2. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  4. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector

Latest News

  1. China and Russia encircling divided Western allies
  2. Fish complicates last push for post-Brexit deal
  3. EU emissions down 24% on 1990 - but still off 2030 target
  4. Hungary must keep Russian vaccine within borders, says EU
  5. If EU is serious, it should use more US liquified gas, not less
  6. EU taxpayers in the dark on US corona-drug deal
  7. EU debates first names to go on human rights blacklist
  8. Lithuania bids to host EU cyber-centre

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us