Quality of life

Challenges and prospects in the EU: Quality of life and public services

Flagship report
22 October 2019
Executive summary in 22 languages


Key findings

  • Perception of tensions in society has the most detrimental impact on trust in institutions, while perceived quality of public services is a key driver for higher trust in institutions.
  • Civic participation, particularly volunteering, is associated with higher levels of trust.
  • More and more flexible long-term care provision is needed. Home care and help should be made more available, especially in the half of EU Member States where income is lowest.
  • Prompt access to primary healthcare, social care and long-term care can stimulate early intervention, monitoring of changing needs and prevent escalation of long-term care problems.
  • Mental health issues are increasing for young people, though it is not clear whether this is due to higher incidence or better awareness and diagnosis. Mental health is closely related to other youth issues and can both be an outcome of inequalities and a source of inequality itself. Risk factors for mental health issues include disability and long-term illness, family problems, relationship problems with peers and heavy social media use.


What have been the major developments in quality of life and public services in Europe in recent years, as captured by research into these areas in Eurofound’s work programme for 2017–2020? This flagship publication provides a synthesis of the main findings on several key topics, based, in part, on European Quality of Life Survey data. It maps developments and perceptions regarding the following: trust in institutions and social cohesion; access to and quality of health and care services; the impact of digitalisation on social services; access to services for young people; and measures aimed at integrating refugees. While the report highlights many challenges and emerging issues for public services, it also showcases a number of positive experiences with the involvement of client groups in the design of services and take-up of new technologies.

Part of the series

  • Challenges and prospects in the EU

    Eurofound’s Flagship report series 'Challenges and prospects in the EU' comprise research reports that contain the key results of multiannual research activities and incorporate findings from different related research projects. Flagship reports are the major output of each of Eurofound’s strategic areas of intervention and have as their objective to contribute to current policy debates.

  • European Quality of Life Survey 2016

    Carried out every four years, this unique, pan-European European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) examines both the objective circumstances of European citizens' lives and how they feel about those circumstances and their lives in general. This series consists of outputs from the 2016 edition of the EQLS.

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