EQLS 2012 - Quality of life in enlargement countries

This project on quality of life in the enlargement countries presents seven individual country profiles (consisting of the main survey findings) and three reports on Trends in quality of life: on Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey - see Related content.


In 2011–2012, when the third European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) was carried out, the European Union consisted of 27 Member States. It enlarged to 28 when Croatia joined on 1 July 2013. A further eight countries are engaged in the ongoing process of a future enlargement of the EU. Depending on the stage they are at in the process towards EU membership, countries are in acceding country, candidate country or potential candidate status.

The third EQLS, carried out in all the EU Member States, also took place in the summer of 2012 in seven of the nine countries engaged in the enlargement process: Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.

Alongside regular reports by these countries and the European Commission on their progress in adopting EU standards, and key country statistics, which are being gradually integrated into the European Statistical System coordinated by Eurostat, the EQLS contributes to the development of a more comprehensive portrait of European societies. It also enhances understanding of life in the enlargement countries.

Countries with unique features

Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey, are a diverse group. With a population of 328,000, Iceland is the smallest country among the existing and candidate countries of the EU; however, on quality of life indicators Iceland scores relatively high and often exceeds the EU average. With a population of over 72 million, Turkey is by far the largest of the countries discussed, bigger than all other enlargement countries taken together.

All surveyed countries, including those in the western Balkans, have some unique features in terms of their demographic, social and ethnic composition and in relation to their current situation in the international context, both within their region and in European background. For example, all enlargement countries except Croatia and Serbia have a higher share of children than the EU27 average; Kosovo experienced the fastest population growth (1.5%) in 2000–2010, exceeding all the EU27 and enlargement countries. Montenegro stands out as the country with the highest rate of mobile phone penetration, reaching 2.2 subscriptions per person in 2010, with Croatia and Serbia also exceeding the EU27 average of 1.2.