Better work and life

EU Presidency conference on:

Better work and life: Towards an inclusive and competitive enlarged Union - 12-13 May 2003, Alexandroupolis, Greece

Co-organised by the Greek Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions

Speech abstract - Robert Anderson
Research coordinator, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions

Monitoring quality of life in Europe

EU policy focus on living conditions has grown considerably in the wake of the Maastricht Agreement in 1992. European Commission White Papers on European Social Policy and on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment and the Communication on the Social Policy Agenda put the spotlight on quality of life issues. In the Foundation, particular attention has been given to issues of gender equality and non-discrimination, as well as to the roles of citizens' organisations, public services and the social partners. Previous Foundation research has examined issues of unemployment and social inclusion, especially from the point of view of reintegrating vulnerable groups into the labour market. The Foundation’s four-year programme emphasises the need to link the assessment of living conditions to the changing nature of employment, work organisation, as well as to working conditions, and to the modernisation of social protection and social welfare services.

Recent work has looked at new approaches to monitoring trends and changes in quality of life across the EU and candidate countries. The Foundation's working conditions surveys of 1990, 1995 and 2000 respond to this need in the working conditions sphere. In the area of industrial relations there is regular reporting from the European Industrial Relations Observatory. Against this background, the Foundation identified a need for additional comparable data in the living conditions sphere and launched a new pan-European 'quality of life' survey in May 2003. This project will provide new information and analysis on living conditions and quality of life issues throughout the 28 countries of the EU and its candidate countries. The first results, to be presented at the end of 2003, will draw on the survey’s findings, together with existing information from a database of comparable EU-wide data. Analysis and reporting is being supported by a network of experts in the candidate countries.

Robert Anderson is the research coordinator for the Foundation's group focusing on Living Conditions in the EU. He is responsible for the development, implementation and dissemination of results of EU-wide research projects broadly in the field of social policy. He is an expert on the employment situation in Europe particularly regarding opportunities for disadvantaged groups. He has managed research programmes on ageing issues and linking welfare to work.

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