Wednesday

20th Mar 2019

Romanians and Greeks work the hardest in Europe

  • Bucharest: Romanians came top, amid British rhetoric on 'welfare tourism' (Photo: Nico Trinkhaus)

A new study has defied stereotypes by showing that Romanian and Greek people are among the hardest working in Europe.

The survey, by Coe-Rexecode, a Paris-based research institute, looked at “real” working hours in each EU state in the past four years - the amount of time spent actually at work, as opposed to nominal hours, which include absences due to sick leave, childcare, holidays, strikes, or commuting time.

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

It found that in 2013, Romanian full-time employees worked 2,099 hours - the highest figure in Europe.

Greeks came second, followed by Hungarians, Bulgarians and Croatians, Poles, Latvians, Slovaks, Estonians, and Cypriots.

At the other end, Finnish (1,648) and French (1,661) people worked the least, followed by Swedes, Danes, and Belgians. Italian, Spanish, and Dutch people scored low. British and German workers were middle of the road.

The trend between 2010 and 2013 showed falls in Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden.

But hours went up in Spain, the Netherlands, and Portugal.

The numbers go against a stereotype which emerged in the EU financial crisis - of virtuous northern states versus lazy southern countries who want bailouts.

With Romania and Bulgaria at the top end, they also challenge British anti-immigrant rhetoric on "welfare tourism" linked to the lifting of labour restrictions on the two countries in January.

Drilling into France, Coe-Rexecode noted that French people in the industrial and construction sectors worked the least, while people in the agricultural sector worked the most.

Compared to Germany, the EU’s economic success story of recent years, French agricultural and construction workers put in far fewer hours.

Merkel under fire for 'lazy Greeks' comment

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under fire at home and abroad for suggesting that people in Greece, Portugal and Spain take too many holidays and retire too early.

EU commission to map gender recognition

The European Commission will start looking at how EU states determine genders - as part of an effort to make it easier for people to determine their own identities.

EU to propose scrapping summer time change

Based on the preliminary results of an online survey in which mostly Germans took part, the EU executive is proposing that the whole EU stops changing times in March and October.

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

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

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