Eurofound has published the first results of its Living, working and COVID-19 survey that presents how the coronavirus pandemic has influenced Europeans’ life. Hungary’s level of happiness and satisfaction with life is below the European average. We have a low level of confidence in our national government, but we trust the EU more than average. According to the data, Hungarians have the lowest level of trust in the healthcare system throughout the EU.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had comprehensive effects on all aspects of people’s lives across the EU. In April 2020, Eurofound, an agency for the improvement of living and working conditions, conducted an e-survey, Living, working and COVID-19, to assess the most immediate changes and difficulties that occurred in the European Union due to the coronavirus pandemic. The aim was to get a comprehensive picture of people’s current living conditions, quality of life, well-being, work situation, and work-life balance. The survey includes questions ranging from life satisfaction, happiness, and optimism, to health and levels of trust in institutions.
The questions measure the level of various aspects on a scale of 1 to 10. As far as life satisfaction is concerned, Denmark has the highest score with 7.4 and Greece has the lowest with 5.1. Hungarian people are less satisfied with their lives than the EU average (6.3). The data about happiness show a similar pattern: Denmark is the happiest country (7.3) and Greek people are the least happy (5.5).
Considering all 27 countries, young individuals and people looking for a job have reported the lowest levels of mental well-being.
Less than half of Europeans (45%) feel optimistic about their future as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. There is growing uncertainty surrounding further job losses and reductions in working time.
The highest levels of job insecurity are measured in eastern and southern Member States.
According to the survey, almost 40% of Europeans have a worse financial situation than before the pandemic. Nonetheless, only 23.5% of Europeans agreed that they find it challenging to deal with important problems that come up in their lives.
Eurofound also examined how much people trust the following institutions: the news media, the police, the government, the European Union, and the healthcare system. People have reported a rather low level of confidence in their national governments, particularly in several traditionally pro-EU countries, such as France (3.9), Spain (4.3), and Italy (5.3), implying fundamental doubts about the perceived actions of their governments during the crisis. Hungary’s score (3.3) has shown the tendency that can be observed these days of staying below the European average (4.8).
The healthcare system has become the most trusted institution. Even countries most affected by the pandemic, such as Belgium (6.7), Italy (6.7), and Spain (7.7), have reported trust in healthcare systems above the EU average (6.4). Hungary’s score of 3.9 stands in high contrast with this tendency.
More than one-quarter of the respondents have lost their job, either temporarily (23%) or permanently (5%), due to the coronavirus crisis, and most of these people are young men. Half of Europeans have had hours reduced, especially in Romania, Italy, France, Cyprus, and Greece. The Nordic countries have reported the fewest reductions in working time.