This report examines quality of life from the unique perspective of the two acceding countries, Bulgaria and Romania. The historical, political, socioeconomic and cultural contexts of these two countries have meant that their experiences are often quite different to those of the EU Member States. In an attempt to identify the similarities and differences between these two countries and the EU25, the report explores key aspects of quality of life in Bulgaria and Romania, namely – their economic situation, housing and the local environment, employment, education and skills, household structure and family relations, work–life balance, health and healthcare, subjective wellbeing, and the perceived quality of society.
The report, on which this summary is based, provides the first comprehensive analysis of quality of life in Bulgaria and Romania in a European context. It explores both the objective living conditions of people in Bulgaria and Romania and their subjective well-being, along with people’s perceptions of the society in which they live. Although quality of life is not a criterion for accession to the EU, researching this sphere can contribute to understanding the disparities in the various realms of people’s lives and to identifying appropriate measures that are needed in order to reach social cohesion at European level. Moreover, the comparisons between Bulgaria and Romania and between the selected groups of EU Member States provide an interesting frame of reference for the continuing debate on EU enlargement.