Childcare services in EU Member States

Childcare services are services intended for the children in the age before going to primary school. Until now this was the ages from three years old until the age when child goes to primary school, which is different in some EU Member States. But now and in some countries in future this age is changing. In some countries children go to school at the same age, but the childcare models are different in every single country.
There are two different groups of Member States according to development. In the first group are EU-15 Member States and they already have developed childcare services and are concentrating on improving the quality of the services. In second group are the countries that don’t have developed childcare services yet, but are expected to grow seriously in the future.

In the graph bellow you can see annual expenditure on public and private pre-primary education in Member States in years 1997 and 2002:Figure 1

Source: OECD Statistics Database, 2005

Only in this figures we can see how much one country differs from another. We can see that the biggest spenders are Scandinavian countries and they also have the biggest investing in this sector per capita. The difference can be seen in the education of the personnel  caring for children in childcare (this differs also from age of caring children) and in the number of children per carer. This number differs from 3 children per carer to 13 children per carer. But becouse of big differances in the countries models, we cannot make any statistics on which we could compare childcare by countries.

In the second graph we can se the projection of population of children under  the age of 5 for EU from year 1975 to the year 2050:

Figure 2

Source: Eurostat, Statistics Database, 2005

With this we can see that population is getting even older, and European population in not among youngest in the first place. And the rate of children under the age of five in population is decreasing faster than in other countries. I think this is the sector where the education of the workers and the number of workers wanting to work in this sector is increasing and if the demand is going to decrease, than we could see a problem in this sector in the future.

In the past childcare was orientated to preparing for education children from the age of 3 years old until the age of going to primary school but now this is changing. They are starting to prepare children even earlier. And I think this is very wrong. Children are supposed to have fun at least at young age, we all know how life starts becoming stressfull as we are getting older. There are always new problems and the only time in our life we are without worries is in childhood. Parents are pushing their children too much already because they think it is going to be better for them, that they will enable them better life, so they are signing them up for after school projects and I think this is also too much. But we cannot control parents, but if we start pushing them to much from this young age I think we will not manage better life for generation after us. And if if countries are going to find opportunity to make work places in this sector is not going to end well in the end.


Blaž Kralj, Alicja Falińska

Employment developments at sectoral level in EU


While manufacturing and construction have driven the fall in employment, job creation in services, namely non-market services, mitigated these big drags on employment in a large number of countries. After two years of negative growth, job creation resumed in 2011 in industry and construction in most Member States.

Employment growth in different sectors: 2008-2011 (%)


Source: Commission services.

In some countries, the construction sector has also been a major drag on employment and in fact the sector that recorded the most dramatic consolidation. The number of employed in construction nearly halved in Ireland, Spain and the Baltic countries over the latest number of years, with construction alone amounting to around half of the total job losses in these Member States. Even in other Member States with much milder employment reductions, construction jobs have fallen by large margins. Only in a minority of countries, employment in the sector has actually risen and almost always by small margins.

Declining jobs in industry have contributed the most to rising unemployment. For the EU as whole, the sector accounted for slightly more than half of the net job destruction. In fact, jobs in industry have declined in every single Member State barring Luxembourg (where it has little weight on employment) since the beginning of the crisis; cumulated job falls close to or beyond the double digit mark were recorded in half of the Member States, most severely in Spain, Lithuania and Greece. However, in many industrialised countries employment in manufacturing has been declining since well before the 2008-2009 recession as a consequence of shifts of production toward developing countries.

Market services had a mixed employment performance, with around half of the Member States recording net employment growth (notably, Poland, Malta and Germany) and the other half net employment losses (e.g., Latvia, Ireland and Greece).

Non-market services, notably the public administration, was the only sector where net employment gains were recorded in most countries (major net losses only in Latvia and Bulgaria). Unlike other sectors, employment in non-market services lost momentum in 2011, reflecting public finances consolidation dynamics also over the government wage bill.

/By Andrea Blažević, Antea Božić, Kristina Piene and Agita Sarkane/


Sources: accessed on 28.04.2013

Youth Unemployment in the EU

Youth Unemployment in the EU

The Youth Unemployment is currently one of the biggest problems in the EU. 5,7 million of the people under the age of 25 who live in the EU-member states were unemployed at the end of 2012. This is more than 23% of all the young people who live in the EU (Spiegel, 2013). Especially young people who live in the southern countries of the European Union have no job. The highest youth unemployment rate has Greece with 58,40%, followed by Spain with 55,7%. These are the only countries in the EU where are more than the halves of the young people unemployed. They are followed by Portugal (38,2%)  and Italy (27,8%) where are more than every third teenager has no job.
The EU-average is 23,50%. The countries with the three lowest youth unemployment rates are: Germany: 7,70%, Austria: 8,90% and the Netherlands: 10,40%  (Statista, 2013).

Reasons for the Youth Unemployment

The reasons for the youth unemployment are very complex and the main reasons are different in every country. The main factors are the current crisis in the EURO-zone, the education and qualification of the young people and the discrepancy between offer and demand on the job markets. Moreover, young people with a migration background are disadvantaged. Not only poorly educated young people have bad opportunities to find a job in the moment. Even well-educated people have problems to find a job through the economic crisis (Caritas, 2013). Another reason for the high youth unemployment rate is that during the crisis more young people lost their job than older people. This is explainable through the fact, that it is easier to resign people which are shorter employed.

Future Perspectives

The objective of the Europe 2020-Strategy, which had been decided by the EU, is to increase the employment rate of the 20-64 year old people to 75%. Moreover, two education objectives have been decided. The first objective is to increase the rate of graduates to 40% and the second is to decrease early school leavers under the rate of 10%. The problem is that these objectives through the economic crisis are tough to reach. Early indicators confirm these problems.  Therefore, the EU decided to start the initiative “Chances for young people”.

The initiative “Changes for young people” is divided in two different measures. The first measure is to introduce the “Youth-Guarantee”-System in the member states where the youth unemployment is higher than 20%. The system should guarantee that young people get a job or an apprenticeship at latest four months after they got unemployed.  Requirements to take part in the system are that the person lives in a member states where the youth unemployment rate is higher than 20%, that the person is currently unemployment and in no apprenticeship. Finally decided was this measure at the 24th of April 2013 (European Parliament, 2013).

The second measure is the pilot project “Your first EURES job” that should support young people by searching for jobs within in the European Union. The first phase of this test is to improve the mobility above the borders for 5.000 young people. Therefore, four labour administrations were founded in Germany, Spain, Denmark and Italy that should support young people to find a job in another country. Moreover, the labour administrations encourage the young people with money for language courses, move and the journey to job interviews (Caritas, 2013).

Regarding the youth unemployment in Europe, you can find an interesting infographic under this article which was released by the European Parliament.

Written by Carl-Frederic Korn, Yvonne Kohaus and Hasan Can Acar

Infographic: Youth Unemployment in the EU

Infographic: Youth Unemployment in the EU – Source: European Parliament


Caritas. (2013). Erschreckend viele Jugendliche in Europa sind arbeitslos. Available: Last accessed 29th Apr 2013.
European Parliament. (2013). Employment MEPs approve plans to help more young people to work or training. Available: Last accessed 29th Apr 2013.
Spiegel. (2013). Hohe Arbeitslosigkeit: EU beschließt Jobgarantie für Jugendliche. Available: Last accessed 29th Apr 2013.
Statista. (2013). Youth Unemployment in the EU Feb 2013. Available: Last accessed 29th Apr 2013.

The Netherlands consumed with hatred for Polish workers

On 1st May 2007 the Netherlands, as a member of the EU, opened their borders to people willing to work there. Since they were always considered to be an open and tolerant country with respectful society, many were tempted to try their luck. Many being around 200,000 immigrants from central-eastern Europe, mainly from Poland.

But the idyll did not last for ever. Even though western Europe is getting older and needs more young labour force from abroad, the anti-immigrant spirits are in full bloom. Especially in times of global countries rich economies like the Netherlands fear depression deepened by a wave of foreign workers. Dutch government wants create new barriers to block an influx of new migrants. Majority of citizens complains that immigrant workers take the jobs from Holland’s unemployed, behave poorly and do not care for their houses.

4 years ago a scandal involving 3 Polish women and their employer came up. The said women worked strawberry picking in Oirshot and were allegedly physically abused by their boss, as well as refused to be paid wages. When they went on strike, the employer stopped supplying them with running water and food which were guaranteed in the contract. This issue moved the country. Polish consulate intervened in Hague, labour unions also became involved. Later on the employer denied any physical violence and abuse and explained that no wages were paid because the accountant was absent. The notion calmed down, but was still present.

Later, a newspaper campaign started. An article describing that Poles fish out fish from rivers and ponds, drink drive and cause car accidents triggered a chain reaction. Journalists agitated that on some camping sites seasonal Polish workers were disturbing the neighbourhood with noisy behaviour. More articles in such a tone were published. They compared them with cattle, complained that they party on their free days. Newspaper issues with these were often deliberately left for Polish people to encounter in their work environment. Acts of violence against Polish workers’ property were committed.

More often than before were Poles refused work or, if employed, sent on unpaid mandatory leave, while at the same time workers of different nationality were still paid on normal basis and their spots were safe despite job cuts.

In July 2011 the issue was brought back into the spotlights. Dutch eurodeputy Barry Madlener claimed that the Netherlands and want Polish people, especially unemployed. This statement sparked controversy and induced discussions. The deputy later explained that he had protection of domestic labour market in mind. He claimed that this notion is common within the state, but people are afraid to voice their concerns.

This stirring led to the Dutch Party of Freedom demanding harsher policies on unemployed immigrants who receive social welfare for over 3 months. Prime minister Mark Rutte agreed. A survey showed that 69% of population was unhappy with Poles arriving in the country; 3 out of 4 wanted the immigration law to be harsher. But there were some voices against these severe measures. Guido Vreuls, who runs a company hiring Poles in the Netherlands, tried to mitigate and convince that majority of Polish workers work hard, and exceptions to this rule can be encountered regardless of nationality.

In January 2012 the situation became more and more inflamed. Dutch radio served as a medium to propagate immediate expulsion of Polish workers. They were called budget parasites, welfare tourists and trouble shooters. Yet again someone stood to defend Poles’ dignity – Aart van der Gaag, a director of ABU job intermediaries spoke how tolerance is decreasing and all the blame for the crisis is pinned on them, all the while stressing that they are perfect, irreplaceable workers. He also claimed that truth be told the jobs that immigrant workers take are rejected by the Dutch. For them the salaries are too low, conditions too bad and work too hard, so they would rather stay at home and live off high welfare.

Finally, in 2012, the European Committee stood its ground. It forbid the Netherlands to alter the migration law, since it should be common across all the members of the EU. Any changes would be against the law and would result in a lawsuit. But with an increasing rate of unemployment and the crisis present in people’s lives more than ever, the social mood is unlikely to be in favour of immigrant Polish workers.

By Katarzyna Liszka, Martyna Dzido, Aleksandra Pułyk, Patrycja Perzyńska

European labour-market reform

How do we resolve worryingly high unemployment across Europe? In a time of crisis, would reform actually intensify unemployment? If we are to break the back of slow labour markets, policymakers need to learn from Europe’s success stories. Labour markets especially in southern Europe have to be reformed – presenting policy prescriptions to that effect.

Unemployment continues to rise in the Eurozone. There is a lasting suspicion that these markets are not flexible enough; that wage growth does not respond sufficiently to unemployment. Labour market reform has featured prominently in the bailout agreements reached between the Troika and Greece, Portugal, and Ireland. Reform surely must be a good thing? But what is it meant to achieve? What should and can be done? Are we ready?

Recent European Commission estimates of structural unemployment rates in 2013 are 6% for Germany and Denmark, 8% for Italy, 13% for Portugal, 15% for Ireland, and 18% for Spain (Orlandi 2012); versus actual unemployment of 5.4% in Germany (November 2012), 7.9% in Denmark, 11.1% in Italy, 16.3% in Portugal, 14.6% in Ireland and 26.6% in Spain. The most recent unemployment figure for Greece was 26% in September 2012.

The estimated structural rates are obtained by smoothing the actual unemployment rate series, so they have followed the recent rises to some extent, and may exaggerate the structural component and under-represent the demand-deficient component. In fact, it would seem that not only is demand in the doldrums but the structural unemployment rate is also very high in many countries.

The difficulty in proposing a programme of reforms to labour markets is that of striking the right balance. We are operating in world of the second best. How far should reforms go in the direction of liberalisation? What are the trade-offs between – and what is the right combination of – security for the employed, income inequality and higher average real incomes?



Draghi, Mario (2012), “The future of the euro: stability through change”, European Central Bank, published in Die Zeit, 29 August.

EEAG (2013), EEAG Annual Report on the European Economy, Munich, CESifo.

Orlandi, Fabrice (2012), “Structural unemployment and its determinants in the EU countries”, European Economy, Economic Papers, 455, May.


Quality of life in Europe

Are people in European Union happy? How is their life quality?

First of all, there is a question, how to measure the quality of life. The OECD has a new way to rank the life quality in countries around the world. Called “The Better Life Index,” the new OECD data set ranks countries based on things like the employment situation, leisure time, and life expectancy.

The most important fact while speaking about the quality of life in the EU are the differences between countries. Surveys show that people from countries that entered the EU sooner have a better life standards. Maybe membership in EU is the factor that could influence the development of the country, but for sure the first countries that entered the EU were the big successful countries with strong economies as Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, …

The Eurofound stated an interesting survey about the European Quality of Life. It took place from the end of September 2011 to early February 2012 in the 27 European Union Member States. The results are shown in the video below.

The other interesting facts are provided in Numbeo database in survey of the life quality differences between the countries in the world. In the next picture you can see, that the European countries do pretty good comparing to the rest of the world except of the North America.

quality of life in the world

What about the European cities and their quality of life? The top spot has Vienna as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Survey. The rest of the top 10 for Europe are dominated by German and Swiss cities. Zurich is followed by Munich, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Copenhagen and Bern. The lowest-ranking cities are Athens and Belfast.

The other important fact is, that the quality of life in EU went down in last years because of the global financial crises. Declines of over 20% in levels of optimism and happiness are reported in some countries across the EU and over a third of people indicate a deterioration in their financial situation over the past five years. Since the year 2007 more people who had good income and were in good quality housing are now struggling with unemployment, debts, housing insecurity and access to services. The countries with the biggest problems of changing the life quality to worse are Greece, Spain and Portugal, Bulgaria, Hungary,… People living in the Northern countries are still holding the better quality of life.


Authors: Veronika Müllerová, Matej Vician, Helena Wenzelová, Zsolt Farkas.

Job satisfaction in Europe – An international comparison

In which European countries are employees most satisfied with their job? Where are the least satisfied from? And which determinants influence job satisfaction? The purpose of this post is to compare briefly the extent and determinants of employees’ job satisfaction on European level.

In Europe many determinants influence satisfaction of employees, but several EU-surveys show the same result: A comparison of job satisfaction (measured on a scale from 1 “not at all satisfied” to 4 “very satisfied”) in Europe shows that the average level of satisfaction in most countries is high. But it can be recognized that the level of job satisfaction varies at national level. Denmark is the country with the most satisfied employees in average. Second is the United Kingdom, followed by Norway, Switzerland and Austria. At the other end, there are many Eastern European countries with a low level of job satisfaction in average. The countries with the lowest job contentment are Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and finally Turkey, which is very striking, because it has by far the worst result.


Job satisfaction is influenced by the following numerous parameters (in brackets the correlation to satisfaction). The most important factors are (there are even more):

  • wage (there is a positive correlation between wage and satisfaction, which means that people who think that they are well paid, are more satisfied)
  • health(healthier employees enjoy their work much more than less healthier. And workers who think that their work has a negative impact on their own health are less satisfied)
  • secure workplace (employees who know that their workplace is secure and that they do not have to be afraid to get unemployed soon are more satisfied)
  • working time flexibility (the more flexibility workers have to decide when to start or leave their work to match their own needs with their private life, the more satisfied they are with their job)
  • type of employment contract (employees with an unlimited contract are more pleased than employees with a temporary contract)
  • education(the higher the education level, the higher the degree of job satisfaction in average)
  • job match (workers who consider that they are over- or under-qualified with their job declare lower job satisfaction than those who have a good job-match)

So how can the results in the differences of Europe`s job satisfaction be explained with respect to the determinants?

Of course it depends on the different working conditions. The average gross-income is in the United Kingdom (3135€) and in the Scandinavian states (highest in Denmark 4217€) significantly higher than in the rest of Europe. The lowest average gross-income are in the Eastern European countries (e.g. Slovakia 783€, Romania 498€, Bulgaria 306€) and Turkey (350-400€). Furthermore, the studies show that in Turkey, most Eastern and South European countries not only the level of physical stress is significantly higher than in the Northern countries, but there is also a higher number of temporary employment contracts and they have the highest working hours per week (e.g. UK 35.42h, Denmark 36.77h, Norway 34.62 vs. Greece 45.19h, Romania 46.24h, Turkey 54.35h). Moreover the countries in the north of Europe have a higher level of flexible working time and employees can manage private and business life better according to their needs.

The surveys reveal in a short conclusion, that the higher the welfare of a country is, the higher it`s gross domestic product is and the more developed it is, the higher is the job satisfaction in average.

But there are also very interesting results and key developments for whole Europe since the last years, which will continue in the future:

  • there is a continuous shift from primary and secondary sector to the third sector
  • the percentage of women in leading positions is increasing
  • the number of temporary employment contracts is rising
  • the working hours per week are declining in average
  • 20% of all Europeans have problems to coordinate private- and business life
  • the intensity of work is high and has increased in the last 20 years

written by Nicolas Lauer, Matthias Lerch, Timo Bug