Monitoring quality of life in the acceding and candidate countries

The Foundation has begun its initiative to monitor and report on living conditions and quality of life in the acceding and candidate countries. To assist with the analysis and interpretation of results from surveys being carried out, a network of experts has been established. A joint Foundation/DG Employment initiative to analyse and report on data from a first Eurobarometer survey of quality of life in candidate countries will also be informed by the expert group.

The first meeting of the expert group was held on 26-27 November 2002 in Budapest. Eleven of the thirteen countries participated and were represented by high level, well-qualified experts drawn from universities, consultancies and public administrations. On this occasion they gave advice particularly on the items for the survey questionnaire. Domains to be covered include: housing and living environment; health and health services; education; employment and working conditions; family and social networks; time use; social capital and public services and economic resources.

The first meeting was opened by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Health and Social Affairs in Budapest who expressed a strong interest in the project and in collaboration in international research. The meeting was also attended by the Head of Unit, Social and Demography Analysis, DG Employment, European Commission who emphasised the need for data on future Member States, as well as the value of data reflecting the views and experiences of citizens.

The second meeting of the network was held in Warsaw on 5 June, hosted by the Academy of Sciences. Different aspects of quality of life were discussed based upon draft papers prepared following analysis of Eurobarometer data on quality of life. A special session on living conditions in Poland was introduced by Dr Marek Sczepanski, Deputy Minister for Economic and Social Affairs.

The third network meeting was held in Vilnius, Lithuania on 26/27 November 2003 in cooperation with DG Employment and Social Affairs of the European Commission. The focus of this meeting was to discuss final drafts of seven reports on quality of life issues: income and deprivation; perceived social exclusion; perceived quality of life; quality of life and quality of work; family and fertility; health and access to services; and migration. It is planned to launch the seven reports, based on the analysis of Eurobarometer data, in March 2004.