20th Mar 2019

Europeans expect bleak future, survey finds

  • Welfare line: most Europeans expect a difficult future (Photo: EUobserver)

Europeans expect a more difficult and uncertain future than their parents, involving working longer for less, according to an opinion poll released Friday (17 May).

Europeans now expect the next generation to have less job security, less job satisfaction, less secure pensions, earn lower salaries, spend less time with their families and have less comfortable housing than their parents' generation.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The survey, carried out by polling company Gallup, involved 5,500 people from the six largest EU countries - Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Spain and Poland.

A majority of respondents in Poland, Germany and Spain described themselves as being "optimistic about the future of young people in Europe."

Poles were the most upbeat about their prospects, particularly in terms of getting a good job and pension, with 33 percent expecting to have a more satisfying job than their parents and 22 percent confident of a better pension.

Most Polish respondents also expected to live longer and in better health than their parents, and to enjoy more leisure activity in their free time.

In contrast, French, Spanish and Italians were most pessimistic about their economic future, with large majorities expecting to struggle to find well-paid work and a pension.

Ninety three percent of Italians expected to have a smaller pension, with 92 percent resigned to not having a secure job.

The figures show a sharp reduction in the number of Europeans who feel positive about their future.

A similar Gallup survey in 2011 found that a majority were confident about their long-term future despite weak economic growth.

Since then, the eurozone has slipped back into recession and unemployment has continued to climb.

Over 20 percent of Europeans aged 16-25 are out of work - the highest ever recorded figure across the EU.

Youth unemployment is now above one in two people in Spain and Greece.

The survey comes as governments across the EU are pushing ahead with deep cuts to public spending and increasing the retirement age.

Those EU countries to have received an emergency rescue from the eurozone have each been required to push through labour market reforms making it easier to dismiss workers and to reduce the number of public sector employees.

EU to 'revive hope' on youth jobs, Barroso pledges

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has called on EU leaders to tackle youth unemployment at their June summit, promising that the EU executive would do its bit to "revive hope."


EU youth unemployment is 'social emergency'

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has put further pressure on governments to create a pan-European youth guarantee scheme to tackle record levels of youth unemployment.

Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban

The EU's largest political alliance, the EPP, will try to put the 'Orban issue' behind it going into the European election campaign. Hungary's ruling party, Fidesz, could be expelled or suspended from the political family.

EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance

Germany and Belgium have put forward a proposal for a "peer review" of EU countries' legal systems as member states and EU institutions struggle with disciplining member states that break EU rules.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

News in Brief

  1. EPP proposes suspension for Orban's Fidesz
  2. May asks for Brexit extension until 30 June
  3. Juncker: Brexit decision unlikely this week
  4. North Macedonia EU-membership talks set for June
  5. EU ups benefits rights for mobile workers
  6. Chinese leader visits Italy, France as Rome joins 'Silk Road'
  7. EU agrees to sanction political parties breaching data rules
  8. EPP votes Wednesday on future of Orban's party


Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Latest News

  1. May tosses Brexit spanner into EU machinery
  2. Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban
  3. A compromise proposal for the Article 50 extension
  4. US glyphosate verdict gives ammunition to EU activists
  5. Have a good reason for Brexit extension, Barnier tells UK
  6. EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance
  7. EU rolls out €525m for military projects, but bars illegal tech
  8. May to seek Brexit extension amid UK 'constitutional crisis'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us