Thursday

22nd Jun 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

Parents of EU children win right to stay

Countries cannot automatically refuse residence to parents of EU children simply because the other parent could care for the minor, the EU's top court ruled on Wednesday.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal
  2. US issues warrant for VW managers, German media say
  3. EU extends sanctions against Russia
  4. Merkel denies Franco-German deal on EU agencies
  5. Dutch PM: Turkey is upholding migration deal
  6. Britain to outline rights of UK-based EU citizens
  7. Tusk can 'imagine' the UK still remaining in EU
  8. Norway offers more blocks for Arctic oil exploration

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  2. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  3. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  4. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  5. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  6. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  7. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  8. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  11. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move
  12. European Social Services ConferenceDriving innovation in the social sector – 26-28 June

Latest News

  1. EU pressures firms to tackle online terrorism
  2. Lack of eligible candidates dogs EU relocation scheme
  3. Border management going virtual
  4. Tusk hints UK could stay in EU, if it wanted
  5. Merkel, Orban and the not quite closed Balkan route
  6. EU set to roll over Russia sanctions amid defence talks
  7. May to soothe EU leaders' post-election Brexit worries
  8. Leaders at EU summit to reinforce Libyan coast guard